Termites blamed for fatal Taiwan train accident

AP News
Posted: Apr 29, 2011 12:35 AM

A forestry expert investigating a fatal rail accident in Taiwan says termites gnawed a large hole in a 100-year-old tree, causing it to fall and crush an oncoming narrow-gauge train.

All of the five fatalities in Wednesday's accident near the mountain resort of Alishan were tourists from China.

Dozens of people were injured in the mishap.

During an inspection late Thursday, forestry expert Wang Ya-nan said the hole in the tree was hidden from sight, and that it toppled over at an unfortunate moment.

Officials said the conductor halted the train after the tree hit one of the cars, but that large branches caused several others to overturn seconds later.