At least 17 dead, dozens injured after train derails in Taiwan

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A train derailment in northeastern Taiwan on Sunday killed at least 17 people and injured 126, government authorities said.

The Puyuma Express train, commonly used by tourists, was en route from Shulin to Taitung with 366 passengers on board.

"We will do everything we can", she said to another person, who was sobbing bitterly during Tsai's visit to a county hospital.

Some passengers were crushed to death, Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chen Chung-chi said.

"This is something that is not supposed to happen when taking a train", said Mr Chen Tai-liang, whose niece, a seventh grader, was killed.

Televised images of the crash site showed numerous train's carriages strewn about in a zig-zag pattern some distance from the tracks and a right-hand bend in the line. Five of the cars were on their sides.

Most of those killed were in the first auto, which flipped over, the Associated Press reported, quoting an unnamed government official.

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The defense ministry deployed 120 soldiers to aid in rescue efforts; an AFP reporter said that bodies continue to be removed from the debris.

Video footage broadcast on local Taiwan television showed passengers smashing a window from inside and kicking it through to escape.

An investigation into the cause of the incident is still underway.

Several cars of the passenger train were left overturned in Lian in northern Yilan county.

The 6-year-old trains were built to travel at an especially fast 150 kph to ease transportation on rugged parts of the island. A train undertaking a test run ignored a stop sign and crashed into another train in northeastern Taiwan in June 2007. Five people were killed.

At a press conference late on Sunday, Taiwan Railways Administration chief Lu Chieh-shen said the cause of the derailment was as yet unknown and would be investigated. In March 1981, an express train derailed at the approach to a bridge near Zhubei Station, killing 30 and injuring 130. They are created to tilt when going around curves.

Japan has been competing assiduously with China, South Korea and European railway providers to win overseas contracts as its already saturated home market shrinks.

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