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Taiwan train crash: At least 36 feared dead after derailment, say police

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A screenshot from video released by hsnews.com.tw, shows a passenger being helped to climb out of a derailed train in Hualien County in eastern Taiwan. April 2, 2021.
A screenshot from video released by hsnews.com.tw, shows a passenger being helped to climb out of a derailed train in Hualien County in eastern Taiwan. April 2, 2021.   -   Copyright  hsnews.com.tw via AP
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At least 36 people are believed to have died when a crowded train partially derailed in eastern Taiwan on Friday, railway police said.

As many as 72 people were still trapped in carriages and 61 had been taken to the hospital, they added.

The train along Taiwan’s east coast near the Toroko Gorge scenic area at around 9 am on a public holiday.

The media reported 350 passengers were on board when the train crashed.

The Associated Press news agency cited reports as saying a truck fell from a cliff above and landed on the tracks, where a train emerging from a tunnel smashed into it.

With much of the train still trapped in the tunnel, escaping passengers were forced to scale doors, windows and roofs to reach safety.

The truck apparently hit after the locomotive had emerged from the tunnel, causing the most damage to cars one to five, according to the rescue department of Hualien county.

Television footage and photos posted by people at the scene on the website of the official Central News Agency showed people climbing out the open door of a railcar just outside the entrance to the tunnel.

The accident came on the first day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival.

Taiwan's last major rail crash was in October 2018 when an express train derailed as it rounded a tight corner on the northeast coast, killing at least 18 people and injuring nearly 200.

In 1991, a collision in western Taiwan killed 30 people and injured 112 in its deadliest train accident.