Train derails near Xinma station in Yilan, Taiwan

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

At around 4:50 p.m. local time (0850 UTC) on Sunday, at least eighteen passengers were killed and, by varying reports, more than another 170 injured after a train derailed in Yilan County in northeast Taiwan. It was the most deaths in a train crash in Taiwan in 27 years. The Puyuma express was transporting 366 people when the accident occurred, according to the railways administration. On Sunday authorities said an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the incident.

Evacuation through a window at 18:16.
Image: 李 忠衛.
Photo of the train wreck at 18:21.
Image: 李 忠衛.

Traveling between Shulin and Taitung, the train's eight carriages derailed around Xinma station.

According to Associated Press, locals assisted passengers to escape through the windows of the train before the emergency response team arrived. Emergency workers and roughly 120 soldiers worked to free survivors from the wreckage.

Injured passengers were transported to four different hospitals for treatment, The New York Times reported.

The train's conductor, according to United Daily News, reported some sort of object was on the tracks and might have derailed the train. Transport ministry officials said on Monday the train driver had reported abnormally low pressure in the brakes of the train 20 minutes before the crash.

This incident exceeded the fatality count of seventeen in a train derailing at Alishan, Chiayi in 2003. Previously 30 passengers died and 112 were injured as a result of a train collision in Miaoli in 1991.