Rescuers search an overturned train in Yilan, Taiwan, October 21 2018. Picture: REUTERS/LEE KUN-HAN
Rescuers search an overturned train in Yilan, Taiwan, October 21 2018. Picture: REUTERS/LEE KUN-HAN

Twenty-two people died after an express train derailed and flipped over on a coastal tourist route in Taiwan on Sunday, the island’s worst rail crash for more than 20 years.

Taiwan’s railways administration confirmed 22 people had been killed and said 171 people had been injured in the crash in northeastern Yilan county.

Authorities have not confirmed if any passengers remain trapped alive inside the train.

An AFP reporter at the scene said that more bodies were being brought out of the wrecked carriages. Images from the site showed the Puyuma Express completely derailed and lying zig-zagged across the track.

All of the train’s eight carriages had derailed and five had flipped on to their side near Xinma station, the railways administration said.

"There are four carriages that were overturned at 90 degrees and the worst casualties were in those carriages," Jason Lu, head of the Taiwan Railways Administration told reporters at the scene of the crash.

"The exact cause of the accident is pending investigation," he said.

AFP