Taiwan train derails, killing 22 and injuring 171

The train went off the tracks between the Dongshan and Suxin stations at about 5pm on Oct 21 2018

At least 17 dead, 120+ injured in catastrophic train derailment in Taiwan (DISTURBING PHOTOS, VIDEO)

At least 17 people were dead and 126 others injured after a train derailed on Taiwan's east coast on Sunday afternoon (Oct 21), authorities said.

The Puyuma express train was carrying more than 366 passengers from a suburb of Taipei toward the southern city of Taitung, when it went off the tracks at 4:50pm (0850 GMT) local time on Sunday, the Taiwan central government said in a statement.

Taiwan's central government said that rescue services were at the scene and that the premier had been notified and was highly concerned over the safety of the travelers.

Authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the derailment.

"Their train auto turned over. They were crushed, so they died right away", he said. Five of the cars are turned over on their sides.

Images from the site showed the high-speed Puyuma Express train completely derailed and lying zig-zagged across the track.

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A teacher was quoted by United Daily News as saying the train stopped several times before the accident, while other passengers repeated that claim.

Yilan County Fire Department have been dispatched to the scene and instructed to continue searching for more people killed or potentially still trapped in the wreckage.

The defence ministry said it had sent in 120 soldiers to help the rescue.

In 1981, 30 people were killed and 130 injured when a train derailed and plunged into a river after hitting a truck on a railway crossing near the city of Hsinchu in northern Taiwan.

President Tsai Ing-wen has described the incident as a "major tragedy" in a post on Twitter, adding: "My thoughts are with all the victims and their families".

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