A major accident occurred on Taiwan Railways today, with a Taroko Express train derailing in the Qingshui tunnel in Hualien county. As of April 16, 2021, the has been reported by the Hualien District Prosecutors Office to be 49. The derailment has been discussed in Taiwanese media as the most fatal rail accident in more than 40 years, referring to a 1981 train collision that killed 31 people.

Taroko Express train 408 departed from Shulin in New Taipei City and was bound for Taitung on Taiwan’s east coast. It derailed while passing through the Qingshui tunnel at around 9:28 a.m.

Taiwan’s government Central News Agency reports that it is possible that a construction truck had fallen from a road above the tracks where the train was emerging from the tunnel, colliding with the train. Cars 1 to 6 derailed, cars 4 and 5 showed serious structural disfigurement, and cars 4 through 8 were lodged within the tunnel.


Photo Credit: CNA

The Taroko Express train was made of eight cars in total, carrying over 400 passengers. As of 4:00 p.m., no passengers remain trapped in the cars. Among the dead are the train’s engineer and assistant engineer.

The Hualien County Government dispatched shuttle vehicles to transport passengers from the accident site to a command center at Hualien railway station. An emergency hotline has been opened for contacts of passengers: 03-8567632.


Photo Credit: AP / TPG

An aerial image of Taroko Express train 408, April 2, 2021.

Many Taiwanese were traveling the weekend of the crash for Tomb-Sweeping Day, which is marked on Monday, April 5.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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