At least 48 people have died after a high-speed train derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan on the first day of a holiday period. The 408 Taroko Express, which reaches speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, was carrying about 350 people when it derailed on Friday morning at Qingshui tunnel in Huaelien county, the transport ministry said. It said 36 passengers “had no signs of life,” and 66 others had been sent to hospital with injuries. Some passengers were believed to still be trapped in the wreckage in the tunnel several hours after the accident. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, said emergency services had been “fully mobilized” to rescue and assist passengers and staff. “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident,” she said. The express train was travelling south towards Taitung on first day of a long weekend for the traditional Tomb Sweeping holiday, which sees extensive travel across the island. The ministry said the train came off the rails in the tunnel north of Hualien city, sending some carriages crashing into the walls. Reports from the scene said authorities suspected an engineering truck which was not parked properly had slid down from a nearby road into the path of the train.
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