At least 24 people were injured in an explosion on a commuter train in Taiwan’s Songshan Railway Station, reported The Straits Times. The train was travelling from Taipei to Keelung located some three hours away.
Travellers recorded their witnesses saying they heard three blasts inside the carriage before it burst into flames. They mentioned the involvement of a man who walked in and left a bag in the cabin minutes before the explosion.
“A 20cm-long, black object was found on the train seat,” said the police. “There was a blast and the carriage went dark. People were panicking and screaming,” a passenger told a local Taiwanese news channel.
Another woman said, “I saw fire from the lights and I heard a sound and my hair was on fire.”
Criminal Investigation Bureau and National Security Bureau officers are inspecting the explosives and putting together the train cabins to look for clues.
Taiwan premier Lin Chuan told reporters: “It looks like somebody did this with a malicious intent and we will fully investigate this case.” The government set up an emergency task force to investigate the cause and a police probe is underway, his office also said in a statement.
Mr Lin told reporters that the police has raised the alert level and beefed up surveillance, assuring Taiwanese “to be at ease”.
Taipei’s Fire Department said it received a message about the explosion at around 10pm and sent more than 10 ambulances and 10 fire engines to the accident spot.
The police force is in hunt for the suspect who left an unidentified bag in one of the seats before the blast. Commuters believe that the explosives were believed to have contained gun powder.
National Police Agency Director-General Chen Kuo-en told reporters that for now, it does not look like a terrorist attack though no terrorist group has taken up responsibility and the cause of the blast remains unclear.
Of the victims of the blast, the condition of four are serious, including a 14-year-old boy who sustained second to third-degree burns on his face.