According to a statement by the police, 72 people were still trapped inside train carriages while 61 passengers had been sent to hospital, reported AFP.
In a statement, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's office said she had ordered hospitals to prepare for a mass casualties. It said, "The top priority now is to rescue the stranded people."
According to AFP, the accident happened near the coastal city of Hualien on Taiwan's eastern railway line around 9:30 am. A live broadcast by local news website UDN outside the tunnel showed at least two undamaged train carriages with rescuers helping passengers escape.
Images showed the front of the train inside the tunnel had been pulverised into a twisted mesh of metal. A female survivor said, "It felt like there was a sudden violent jolt and I found myself falling to the floor."
Sha added, "We broke the window to climb to the roof of the train to get out."