Manila: The death toll in the rail accident at Taiwan’s Hualien County has soared to 54 while the number of injured has risen to 156, local media reported on Friday.
The accident, which is being termed as the deadliest rail tragedy in decades, took place at 0928 hrs local time (01:28 GMT), when a train ferrying 490 passengers derailed inside a tunnel after apparently hitting a truck in Taiwan’s Hualien County.
The rescue operations are being conducted on war footing. The accident has disrupted entire eastern trunk line of the Taiwan Railways.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s office said she had ordered hospitals to prepare for a mass casualty event. “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident,” she wrote on Twitter.
The train, which met with the unfortunate accident, is one of the fastest deployed on a network that is generally considered safe. It can reach speeds of 130km/h (80mph).