At least 18 people are dead and another 187 others injured following a train derailment in eastern Taiwan. Rescue workers are continuing to work around the clock, searching for signs of life at the site. It's unclear how many of the 366 people on board are missing.
Puyuma Express #6432 was traveling through the northeastern Yilan County on Sunday afternoon, bound for the southeastern city of Taitung. The accident occured at about 4:50pm, as the train traveled between Dongshan and Suao stations. All eight of the train's cars derailed, some ending up more than 30 meters from the tracks.
Passengers on the train report hearing a loud noise, saying that the cars derailed and tipped over shortly after the train rounded a bend. They say the cars slid for more than 80 meters, sending up a spray of sparks before coming to a stop.
Taiwan’s rail authority immediately set up an emergency team on Sunday evening to handle the rescue efforts. President Tsai Ing-wen has also ordered relevant authorities to spare no effort in dealing with the aftermath.
Premier William Lai was at the Central Emergency Operation Center on Sunday evening overseeing the government's handling of the disaster. He ordered the transportation ministry to work as quickly as possible to clear the area of wreckage in the hopes of advancing rescue efforts and paving the way for uni-directional train service to resume by 5am on Monday morning.
Lai ordered the transportation ministry to come up with solutions for easing transportation concerns along the remote east coast, in light of disrupted train service. He said possible solutions incude shuttle buses, ferries, and additional flights.
Meanwhile, blood banks in both Yilan and Taipei are reporting a shortage due to the large number of incoming injured patients. The Taipei Blood Center is calling on the public to donate blood as soon as possible.