Almost 50 Dead As Taiwan Train Derails Inside Tunnel

People walk next to a train which derailed in a tunnel north of Hualien

Pictures published by local news website UDN showed the front of the train inside the tunnel had been pulverised into a twisted mesh of metal.

The express train that derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan was manufactured by Hitachi Ltd. and started operations in May 2007 as Taiwan's first tilting rail auto, the major Japanese conglomerate said.

"We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out", she added.

At least 41 people have died and up to 200 remain trapped after a train carrying almost 500 people crashed and then derailed in a tunnel in Taiwan.

Images showed an injured passenger carried away on a stretcher, with her head and neck in a brace, while others gathered suitcases and bags in a tilted, derailed carriage as some walked on the roof of the train to leave the tunnel.

The train, which was carrying more than 400 people, derailed near the Taroko Gorge scenic area on the first day of a long holiday weekend when many people were using Taiwan's extensive rail system, including many families with children.

"Many people were crushed under train seats in the collision".

Taiwan media said many people were standing as the train was so crowded, and were tossed about by the crash impact.

An investigation has been launched, and Hualien police have interviewed one person, Weng said. Many passengers had to be led out of the tunnel to safety, railway officials said.

Taiwan rail crash site

There were reportedly 350 passengers on board-many of whom were traveling for the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival.

In 1948, 64 people were estimated to have died when a train caught fire in northern Taiwan.

President Tsai Ing-wen's office said she had ordered hospitals to prepare for a mass casualty event.

Volunteer rescue workers from the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation said children were among the dozens who escaped the train cars.

"We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident".

And in 2003, 17 died and 156 were injured after a train on the Alishan mountain railway plunged into a chasm at the side of the track.

Those were said to be the worst previous crashes on the rail system that dates from the late 19th century.

That crash was the island's worst since 1991, when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided in Miaoli.

The 408 train is one of the fastest deployed on a network that is generally considered safe.

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