TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A construction vehicle parked on a slope without its brakes on was believed to have caused the train derailment in Hualien County, which led to 36 people having no vital signs, reports said Friday (April 2).
An estimated 72 people were still trapped in the wreckage inside a tunnel, while 68 passengers had been ferried to nearby hospitals by noon on Friday.
According to a preliminary investigation, workers at a nearby tunnel project parked the vehicle at the top of a slope without fastening the handbrake. As the train passed by at 9:28 a.m., the vehicle rolled down the slope and hit the eighth and last carriage, CNA reported.
Prosecutors reportedly questioned the person in charge of the tunnel project to find out why the vehicle had not been parked properly.
As Friday was the first day of the Tomb Sweeping Festival, at least 350 people had taken the Taroko train, which was on its way from Shulin, New Taipei City, to Taitung. The derailment happened at the entrance to the Daqingshui Tunnel.
Cars No. 2 and 3 slammed into the walls of the tunnel and Cars No. 4 and 5 followed, causing them to be badly deformed. Cars No. 3 through 8 are all reported to be inside the tunnel.
According to a TRA map, most of the reported cases for those without vital signs were found in the two last carriages, 20 in Car No. 7 and 10 in Car No. 8.
Some of the injured and passengers who walked out on their own from the front part of the train were transferred onto another train bound for Chongde Station, Hualien County, where an emergency medical post was set up.