At least 22 people have been killed and 171 wounded when a passenger train derailed near Taipei, the most populous city in Taiwan, on Sunday, according to the National Fire Service. The Puyuma 6432 express train, which ran from Shulin to Taitung and carried 366 passengers on board, derailed at 1650 local time.
The rescue and rescue services, which had the support of 120 soldiers, have finally managed to get all the passengers out of the eight wagons of the convoy, according to the firefighters.
All the injured, some of them very serious, have been transferred to nearby hospitals, where they are being treated. The only foreigner among the injured is an American who suffers chest wounds, according to hospital data cited by local media.
The train derailed after leaving the locomotive in a curve and hit a cement post, which was half knocked down, according to the images of the Taiwanese television network CTI. Five wagons were very affected, falling from the tracks to areas of lower height, with highly deformed parts, according to the images transmitted live from the scene by the NextTV television.
The Government of Taiwan has initiated an investigation into the causes of the derailment. According to data from the Taiwanese railway company, the train was revised less than a year ago and was in good condition.
The salvage teams have had difficulties to get the passengers out of the wagons and have had to use torches to open exits. One of the reasons so many people have been injured in the accident is the lack of custom in the use of safety belts on trains, according to several Taiwanese experts told local media.
In the absence of official data, one of the passengers told SET television that the accident occurred almost immediately after entering a curve, about 300 meters from the departure station. El train driver, who is in the intensive care unit, said hospital upon arrival at the train had collided with a foreign object before derailing, according NextTV.