Foreign offices send condolences after train crash

03 April, 2021

Courtesy of ICRT

Foreign governments and political leaders are sending their condolences after a train crash in eastern Taiwan earlier in the day left at least 50 people dead and scores injured.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 40 countries, including all 15 of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, sent their sympathies to Taiwan following the tragedy.

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto American embassy here, said in a Facebook post that it sends its "deepest condolences" to the victims, families, and communities impacted by the tragic accident.

The European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan said on social platforms that the office shared the deep sorrow for the loss of life in the tragic train accident in Hualien.

Other western countries, such as the United Kingdom, France and Australia, also expressed their sympathies through their representative offices in Taiwan.

The French Office in Taipei and the Australian Office Taipei issued similar statements on their respective Facebook pages.

Meanwhile, Palau President Surangel Whipps, Jr., who concluded a 5-day visit in Taiwan on Thursday, said in a letter to President Tsai Ing-wen that he was shocked when he learned of the accident.

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a Twitter post that Japan sincerely prayed for the souls of those who died in the accident.

Shinzo Abe, Suga's predecessor, also tweeted that Japan is ready to provide any assistance in the aftermath of the tragedy.

One French national was among those killed, and one Australian and two Japanese nationals suffered minor injuries.

Transportation officials said today that a crane-truck blamed for causing the deadliest accident involving a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train in seven decades on Friday is suspected to have fallen onto the track within 15 minutes before the ill-fated Taroko Express entered the tunnel. Prosecutors in Taiwan are seeking an arrest warrant for the owner of the truck.

The train was carrying 494 people at the start of a long holiday weekend on Friday when it smashed into the construction truck that slid down a hillside above the tracks.

Many passengers were crushed just before the train entered a tunnel, while some survivors were forced to climb out of windows and walk along the train's roof to safety.

The district prosecutor in eastern Hualien County says the truck owner was questioned along with several others. He was allowed to post bail.

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