A massive train crash took place yesterday in a tunnel just outside of Hualien city, Taiwan. The train, the Taroko Express, was carrying almost 500 people who were heading to the Qingming religious festival, where people pay respects to their ancestors, when the crash took place. At least 50 of those people have died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.
It was a horrifying situation: a maintenance truck slid down onto the train tracks. It appeared to be parked improperly on the road above the tracks. The train hit the truck as it entered the tunnel, BBC reports. It appeared that, because the train was so full, many of the passengers were standing at the time of the accident, which likely exacerbated the severity of the accident.
As of right now, mangled cars still remain in the tunnel, which means the death toll could rise—but local authorities are confident that everyone who could be saved has been saved. Passengers near the back of the train were able to walk away, but those closer to the place of impact were more likely to suffer injuries. It is possible that it could take up to a week to clear out the wreckage.
Here’s a little more from BBC:
On Saturday the unnamed construction site manager was released on $15,000 (£11,000) bail after prosecutors sought a warrant for his arrest.
He could face charges of causing death by negligence and of forging documents and he said he was co-operating with investigators.
“Prosecutors will certainly step up investigation and understanding of the crimes or of other suspects involved in the case,” department of prosecutorial affairs director-general Lin Jinn-tsun said.
“The train suddenly stopped and it started shaking, then the collision happened,” one young man said, reported by The Guardian.
The article continues:
Another passenger told CNA he heard a loud noise and then fell unconscious. When he woke it was dark and people were using their phones to light the carriage. “I could not bear to look. Many people were lying down,” he said.
Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen said, “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.”