A passenger train derailment in Taiwan has killed at least 50 passengers and injured around 146 others.

The incident is said to be the island’s deadliest rail disaster in several decades.

According to a Reuters report, the eight-car express train hit a truck that slid from a hillside onto the rail tracks and derailed in a tunnel near the eastern city of Hualien. The images from the site showed that some of the carriages were heavily damaged.

The train was travelling from the capital of Taipei to the south-eastern city of Taitung.

There were 496 passengers onboard at the time of the accident, the news agency added citing the local government. The fatalities include the train driver and a French citizen.

Subsequently, the manager from the nearby construction site Lee Yi-hsiang, whose truck slid onto the railway track, was apprehended for negligence.

Currently, the manager is released on bail. He also released a statement apologising for the incident.

He was quoted by local Taiwan media as saying: “I deeply regret this and express my deepest apologies. I will definitely cooperate with the prosecutors and police in the investigation, accept the responsibility that should be borne, and never shirk it. Finally, I once again express my sincerest apologies.”

Taiwanese Transport Minister Lin Chia-lung also took moral responsibility for the disaster and offered his resignation. However, the request was rejected for the time being.