12 hurt as train in Pingtung derails

12 hurt as train in Pingtung derails

TAIPEI - A train derailed in Pingtung yesterday due to a mudslide, leaving 12 passengers injured and paralysing railway traffic in the southern county for hours, the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) said.

The six-car Tze-Chiang Express train carrying 250 passengers hit a pile of mud and rocks lying on the track at the mouth of a tunnel in Fangshan Township at about 7:33 a.m., but continued on into the tunnel before derailing and stopping, with the first four cars stuck inside, according to the TRA.

"I felt two obvious impacts and then the luggage was flying around and I was thrown off my seat," a passenger, surnamed Liu, said of the moment the train hit the mud and rocks.

"There was no electricity, and it was pitch-dark. I had to feel my way (out of the tunnel) to safety," said Liu, who was riding in the second car and sustained injuries to his back and legs in the accident.

The accident left 12 passengers injured, three of them seriously, the TRA said, adding that all of injured were in the first and second cars, the TRA said.

The train had earlier departed from the eastern county of Taitung heading for Kaohsiung along the South-Link Line, which connects the east and west coasts through Pingtung.

The mudslide may have been triggered by the continuous rainfall over the past few days due to Tropical Storm Kong-Rey.

According to the TRA, its track inspector had conducted a routine check of the area just two hours before the accident and had reported normal conditions.

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