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Death toll in Alishan train accident rises to six

2011/04/27 17:06:54

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) Six people were killed and 61 injured whena train overturned on the scenic Alishan Forest Railway in ChiayiCounty Wednesday, the Office of Disaster Management confirmed.

Helicopters have been dispatched to take the injured to hospitalfor treatment, according to the Cabinet-level agency.

Five of the fatalities were Chinese nationals, the Tourism Bureausaid, adding that five Chinese tour groups comprising 110 people wereon the eight-carriage train when the accident occurred.

A full report of the casualties in the accident was notimmediately available as rescue work was still underway, rescuerssaid.

Most of the passengers aboard the train were Chinese nationalsbecause Alishan is one of the most popular destinations among Chinesetourists to Taiwan, rescuers said.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun saidhis council will provide assistance to the surviving tourists and therelatives of those killed. The MAC will inform Chinese authorities ofthe relevant details of the accident, he said.

The accident took place at around 12: 17 p.m. at the alpinerailway's 70-kilometer mark, between the Sacred Tree Station andAlishan Station. The last carriage of the train was struck by afalling branch from a cedar tree, which flipped the carriage on itsside and derailed two others.

President Ma Ying-jeou said he was "deeply saddened" by theaccident and he directed authorities to speed up the rescue efforts.

The alpine railway was severely damaged by Typhoon Morakot inAugust 2009 and only the section between the Sacred Tree and Alishanstations had since resumed operations.

(By Chiang Chun-liang, Chen Shun-hsieh, Huang Chi-kuan and Y.F. Low)