48 people have died while many more injured when a passenger train carrying about 490 people, on Friday, derailed and crashed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan.
Taiwan’s National Fire Agency said at least 48 people were confirmed dead with 66 others sent to hospital.
Officials report said the eight-carriage train accident could have been caused by a construction vehicle that had slipped onto the tracks at the tunnel’s mouth near the coastal city of Hualien.
According to Hualien county police chief Tsai Ding-hsien, “There was a construction vehicle that didn’t park properly and slid onto the rail track,” Hualien county police chief Tsai Ding-hsien told reporters.
“This is our initial understanding and we are clarifying the cause of the incident,” he added.
Some of the passengers are believed to have been travelling to celebrate the Tomb Sweeping festival where people pay their respect to deceased family members.
According to Taiwan authorities, rescue efforts are underway to free passengers that are still trapped inside the carriages that were badly damaged in the accident.
More than 66 people have been reportedly evacuated from the front four carriages of the train hours after the crash, but about eight carriages were said to be “deformed” and “hard to access”.
The train driver is said to be among the dead.
Taiwan President Tsai ING-wen said the country’s emergency services have been deployed in the scene of the crash.
” In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident, ” he tweeted.