A Tzichiang express train on the South Link Railway from Kaohsiung to Taitung derailed at 12:25am yesterday in Pingtung, injuring 15 passengers.
After conducting an initial investigation into the case, officials of the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) discovered that several wooden planks and bolts used to join steel rails had been deliberately removed from a section of the rail line. Railway police are now looking further into the case.
Most of the passengers were sound asleep when the accident took place. They were thrown into panic by the severe jolt of the six-car train and immediately realized it had derailed. Only one of the passengers was seriously wounded, with the other 14 suffering minor injuries.
The injured passengers were riding in the first and second cars of the train, and have returned home on transportation arranged by the TRA.
TRA officials rushed to the site soon after the accident occurred and began an investigation to determine the cause.
"This section of the rail was probably vandalized," one railway official said.
The accident has interrupted trains service on the South Link Railway generated chaos, but TRA Director Hsu Ta-wen (徐達文) said that TRA engineers are working on fixing the track, and that full service should be restored by 5pm today.