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It was the island’s worst railway crash in decades, with the train colliding with a construction vehicle, according to reports.

Authorities said a packed train derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan on Friday morning, killing at least 36 people and injuring dozens more. It was the island’s worst train crash in decades.

At least 72 passengers were wounded and taken to the hospital, according to the transport ministry, while many others remained trapped.

Earlier, emergency services identified “many individuals with no vital signs.” Rescuers were attempting to reach four carriages inside the tunnel that were severely damaged and difficult to navigate, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.

According to photos circulated on the internet, the damage was likely extensive. A crumpled carriage was smashed against the tunnel wall in one picture released by the official Central News Agency. Another photo, posted by Taiwan’s United Daily News, showed what appeared to be the train’s mangled control car lying on its side in the tunnel.

The train driver was also missing, according to local reports.

Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, said on Twitter that emergency services had been “fully mobilised” to rescue and assist passengers and railway workers.

“In the wake of this heartbreaking incident, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety,” she wrote.

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