At least 36 people were killed and dozens were injured in a train explosion Derailed in Taiwan On Friday, after apparently colliding with a truck.
Officials said 44 people had been sent to hospital, as the island faced its worst rail disaster in decades.
The Taiwan Red Cross said it was at the scene and Helping to free passengers Trapped in the accident.
“Our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue and assist the affected passengers and railway personnel,” President Tsai Ing-wen said He said on Twitter.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure their safety in the wake of this tragic incident.”
The country’s fire department said the train was carrying around 350 passengers, and it is believed to have housed many tourists and people who had returned home at the start of a long weekend.
Pictures of the crash scene show some vehicles inside the tunnel torn apart from collision, while others have crashed, impeding rescue workers’ access to passengers.
Pictures showed passengers climbing the sides of the train to reach safety as rescue efforts continued.
The official Central News Agency said that a truck “was not parked properly” was suspected of slipping on the track of the train. The fire department showed a photo of what appeared to be the wreckage of a truck next to the derailed train.
The fire department said express service from the capital, Taipei, to Taitung on the southeastern coast, derailed while part of it was inside the North Hualien Tunnel in eastern Taiwan.
The accident came on the first day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival, an annual religious festival in which people travel to their hometowns for family gatherings and worship at the graves of their ancestors.
Taiwan is a mountainous island where most of its 24 million people are squeezed into flat lands along the northern and western coasts. The sparsely populated east is popular with tourists, many of whom arrive along coastal railways to avoid the treacherous mountain roads.
The railway line from Taipei down the east coast is famous for its tunnels and road that embrace the coast just north of Hualien City where the accident occurred.
Taiwan’s comprehensive rail system has undergone major upgrades in recent years, particularly with the addition of a high-speed line connecting the capital, Taipei, to cities in the south.
This is a developing story. . Please check back for updates
Associated Press Contributed.