Termites Cause Fatal Taiwan Train Crash

A train accident that killed five tourists was caused by a termites chewing through a tree branch, according to Taiwan officials.

May 5, 2011

A train accident that killed five tourists was caused by a termites chewing through a tree branch, Taiwan says.
Taiwan's Council of Agriculture said in a report on the accident near Mount Ali that the inside of the branch that fell from a giant ring-cupped oak tree onto the train was rotten from termite bites although it was not visible from the outside.

"It is a natural phenomenon that could not have been prevented," the report said, citing experts who investigated the scene.

Five Chinese tourists died while about 100 others were injured on Wednesday when the tree branch struck the train in a densely forested area on the slopes of the mountain, causing four carriages to derail and overturn.

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