At least 41 people were killed and dozens more were injured when a train derailed in Taiwan on Friday after apparently colliding with a truck.
44 people had been sent to hospital, officials said, as the island faced its worst rail disaster in decades.
Taiwan’s Red Cross said it was on the scene and helping to free passengers trapped in the crash.
“Our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected,” President Tsai Ing-wen said on Twitter.
“We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.”
The train was carrying around 490 people, the country’s fire department said, thought to include many tourists and people heading home at the start of a long holiday weekend.
Between 80 and 100 people have been evacuated from the first four carriages of the train, while carriages five to eight have “deformed” and are hard to gain access to, firefighters said.
About 70 people remain trapped in the wreckage and rescue efforts are ongoing, they added.
The accident came on the first day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Festival, an annual religious festival when people travel to their hometowns for family gatherings and to worship at the graves of their ancestors.
The official Central News Agency said a truck “not parked properly” was suspected of sliding into the path of the train. The fire department showed a picture of what appeared to be the truck’s wreckage next to the derailed train.
The express service traveling from the capital Taipei to Taitung on the southeast coast came off the rails while part of it was inside a tunnel north of Hualien in eastern Taiwan, the fire department said.
William Roache (Analysis Editor Newspresslive )