TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) today released surveillance camera footage showing the moment the Puyuma express train flew off the tracks yesterday as it sped around a bend in Taiwan's Yilan County, causing 18 deaths and 187 injuries.
The Puyuma express train No. 6432 , headed for Taitung (台東), had a total of 366 passengers onboard when it came off the tracks close to the Xinma Station in Su'ao (蘇澳鎭) at 4:50 p.m. yesterday afternoon (Oct. 21), according to TRA. All eight of the carriages on the train came off the rails, with five completely overturning, causing 18 dead and 187 injured.
In the 12-second video, the train can be seen rapidly approaching as it rounds a bend. Suddenly, the train's engine starts to lean to its left before leaping off the tracks and rolling onto its left side.
The engine continues to skid at a high speed along the tracks as its trailing carriages each bounce off the the tracks one after the other. Sparks starts to fly and smoke begins to billow as the lead engine and trailing carriages crash into poles supporting the overhead power lines and each other.
Apple Daily reported that the accident took place on a curve in the track, while the Automatic Train Protection System (ATP) had been disabled prior to departure due to a malfunction, and that could have contributed to derailing the train, permitting it to go too fast for the curve, according to people familiar with the matter. The system is designed to enforce adherence to a commanded speed pattern and to prevent accidents. TRA emphasized the cause is still under investigation.
However, at a press conference today, Chief secretary of TRA, Chu Lai-shun (朱來順) said that the driver of the train reported a problem with "low (air) pressure" just before the accident occurred. Chu emphasized that based on the investigation thus far, no evidence has been found showing that the derailment was related to the disabling of ATP.