Vincentian students studying in Taiwan are safe following the death of several passengers when a Train Derail on the Eastern Side of Taiwan on Good Friday, April 2nd,2021.
According to the latest information, fifty-one (51) passengers were killed and several remain trapped in wreckage after a Train derailed in a tunnel on Friday on the Eastern Side of Taiwan.
A release from the Vincentian In Taiwan Association (VITA) said: “As we have all come to know, this morning a Tarako Express train carrying some 350 passengers derailed in eastern Taiwan.
We would like to confirm that NO Vincentians were on board or involved in the tragic incident. This confirmation is also backed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Head Office.
Furthermore, contact has been made with all Vincentian students living in that area as well as those who had indicated plans to travel to or in the said area. They are all accounted for and are in good spirits.”
At 9:28 a.m. on Friday morning, the first day of Taiwan’s Tomb Sweeping Festival, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) No. 408 Taroko train running from Shulin, New Taipei, to Taitung, suddenly derailed as it entered the Daqingshui Tunnel.
Between 80 to 100 people were evacuated from the first four carriages of the train, while carriages five to eight have “deformed” and are hard to gain access to, it added.
When BreadFruit News contacted the SVG Embassy in Taipei, Taiwan, St Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to Taiwan H.E Andrea Bowman said; “Today, Friday 2nd April, 2021, the Embassy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Republic of China (Taiwan) was officially informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Taiwan, that no Vincentian students were involved in the tragic train derailment which took place in Hualien.
Ambassador Bowman further mentioned: “Our embassy sympathizes with the Government and People of Taiwan at this time when we are all heartbroken in this our home away from home”.
The official Central News Agency said a truck that was “not parked properly” was suspected of sliding into the path of the train. The fire department showed a picture of what appeared to be the truck’s wreckage lying next to the derailed train.
“Our train crashed into a truck,” one man said in a video aired on Taiwanese television, showing pictures of the wreckage. “The truck came falling down.”
Part of the train was situated outside the tunnel, and those in carriages still in the tunnel were being led to safety, Taiwan’s Railway Administration said.
According to a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) map, most of the fatalities were found in the two last carriages. A total of 118 people were injured, many of them transferred for treatment to several hospitals in the region or receiving first aid at nearby Chongde Railway Station.
The accident occurred at the start of a long weekend for the traditional Tomb Sweeping Day. The crash is recorded as the Island’s worst rail disaster in at least four decades.
The government set up an emergency center, while traffic was encouraged to avoid the highways leading to the scene of the crash in order to allow ambulances quicker access. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) visited the site at 4 p.m., reports said.