Train crash kills 48 in Taiwan's worst rail tragedy in decades

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The express train that derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan was manufactured by Hitachi Ltd. and started operations in May 2007 as Taiwan's first tilting rail vehicle, the major Japanese conglomerate said.

More than 72 people were injured, with around 60 already sent to a hospital.

"This is our initial understanding and we are clarifying the cause of the incident", he added. "The top priority now is to rescue the stranded people", it said in a statement. The train smashed into the truck while it emerged.

In a tweet, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said emergency services "have been fully mobilised to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected".

Minutes later, the train's lead auto crashed into it, according to Railways Administration official Weng Hui-ping, just before the train entered a tunnel.

Passengers are assisted out of the train after it derailed in Taiwan, killed at least 51 people.

Many people may have been standing because the train was so full.

She later told reporters that she will do all she can to provide the maximum support for the survivors and families of the deceased. Survivors were climbing out windows and onto roofs to reach safety.

The eight-car train was travelling from Taipei to the southeastern city of Taitung and was carrying about 350 passengers.

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

Taiwan's mountainous east coast is a popular tourist destination, and the railway line from Taipei down the east coast is renowned for its tunnels and route that hugs the coastline.

And in 2003, 17 died and 156 were injured after a train on the Alishan mountain railway plunged into a chasm at the side of the track.

With the help of multiple tunnels and bridges, it winds its way through towering mountains and dramatic gorges before making its way down Huadong Valley.

"Many people were crushed under train seats in the collision".

Those were said to be the worst previous crashes on the rail system that dates from the late 19th century.

The island's worst crash in recent history was in 1991, when 30 passengers were killed and 112 injured after two trains collided.

The Japanese government said Friday the country is ready to consider helping Taiwan if requested following a deadly train accident on the island that resulted in dozens of casualties.