By Danielle Silvia
Puyuma Express, a Taiwanese passenger train, derailed from its track, killing 18 people, including at least three children, and injuring about 170 others in Taipei, Taiwan on Oct. 21, according to The New York Times.
This was the worst rail accident in Taiwan in over 27 years. Most of the passengers first noticed smoke and heard a loud noise the moment the train began to derail, according to BBC.
The train, which was headed for the destination of Taitung, a city on the southeast coast of Taiwan, was carrying 366 passengers, according to The New York Times.
The train departed from Shulin in New Taipei City, came off the tracks and crashed in Xinma Station in Yilan County, Taiwan, at approximately 5 p.m., according to The New York Times.
The Puyuma Express was composed of eight passenger cars. All eight cars derailed during the accident and five of those cars overturned. The train had been in operation since 2011 and just completed maintenance work, according to CNN.
Officials are still trying to determine the cause of the derailment, but speed is a factor that could have played a role, according to CNN. A report was also filed by the train’s driver nearly 20 minutes before the crash, which said that the air pressure in the brakes was thought to be “too low.”
Lai Sui-chin, vice chairman of the transport ministry’s electrical engineering department, said that the air pressure in the brakes did appear unstable before the crash occurred. He continued to say that due to the lack of pressure there would not be sufficient power to brake the train before the crash, according to CNN.
Of the victims, CNN reported that eight members of a single family traveling home from a wedding were killed.
The cars landed in a “zig-zag pattern,” with most of the victims trapped underneath the train cars or thrown astray on the land nearby, according to The New York Times.
Many of the victims were crushed to death, while others attempted to escape by smashing windows or using emergency exits, according to BBC.