At least 18 people are dead after a train derailment in eastern Taiwan, officials said late Sunday, lowering the death toll from earlier reports.
At least 18 people are dead after a train derailment in eastern Taiwan, officials said late Sunday, lowering the death toll from earlier reports. PIX: Taiwan government

TAIPEI – At least 18 people are dead after a train derailment in eastern Taiwan, officials said late Sunday.

Taiwan’s cabinet revised the death toll downwards in a statement Sunday. It said an earlier death toll of 22, released by the railway administration, was incorrect.

The number of injured now stands at 168 people, including 10 who were in critical condition, according to the Cabinet statement. The accident occurred in Suao, in eastern Yilan County.

Five out of eight carriages overturned. The incident is under investigation, the government said.

Taiwan Railways Administration director general Jason Lu apologized to the public at a news conference late Sunday in Taipei, saying the cause of the accident remained uncertain.

The Puyuma Express tilting train was carrying 366 passengers when it came off the rails Sunday afternoon as it was heading toward Taitung, a coastal city in eastern Taiwan. The train had been in use for six years, according to the administration.

Railway officials said late Sunday that crews had checked to make sure no one was trapped inside the train.

In footage aired on local TV, a section of curved rail could be seen piercing into a window of a carriage.

“I didn’t know what happened. I was sleeping and my mom was covering up to stay warm. And then suddenly we were falling,” a girl was quoted by the Apple Daily newspaper as saying.

“I heard a loud sound in the back and I was wondering if [the train] hit something. Then the carriage toppled over,” said a male passenger, according to the Apple Daily. -DPA

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