The train was heading towards Taitung when it derailed on a tunnel north of Julianne, causing some carriages to collide with the wall.
Authorities say at least 36 people were killed and dozens injured when a train derailed in a subway in eastern Taiwan on Friday morning, beginning a long holiday weekend on the island.
The Ministry of Transport said at least 72 passengers were injured and many others were rushed to hospital.
Emergency services have previously reported “many people with no major symptoms” of life. The Federal Emergency Operations Center said the rescuers were trying to move four vehicles inside the tunnel, which was badly damaged and difficult to access.
A brief video released by the center from inside the tunnel showed rescuers arriving at the scene and a twisted cart door.
Another image released by the Federal News Agency showed several passengers trying to get off one of the train’s carriages, while others were seen kicking passengers out.
The eight-car train, carrying 350 people on its way to Taitung, derailed at 9:28 a.m. (01:28 GMT) north of Julian, according to Taiwan Railway officials.
Taiwan’s Transport and Communications Minister Lin Xia-lung said on Twitter that he was on his way to the crash site.
“I have advised Taiwan Railways to set up a first level disaster response center,” he said. “I rush to the response center.”
Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that two and three cars jumped off the tracks and crashed into a tunnel wall during a preliminary investigation.
Breaking: A train derailed in the east # Taiwan Earlier today, and step Oc Focus_Taiwan, Many showed no sign of life. There were about 350 passengers on the 8-car train heading to the East Coast. https://t.co/nQXZAS9BMP
– William Yang (ில்ல William Yang 120) April 2, 2021
Friday marks the beginning of a grave clearing day known as King Ming and the beginning of a long holiday week in Taiwan. Thousands of people are expected to travel across the island to clean the graves of their ancestors and use their leisure time to visit popular tourist sites such as Taroko National Park. Julian is a popular natural city next to the famous Taroko George in eastern Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Eastern Railway is a popular tourist destination because of its spectacular coastline and scenery.
Taiwan’s last major crash in 2018 killed 18 people when a passenger train derailed in Yilan, eastern Taiwan.
Erin Hale reports in Taipei.