Theme Park Train Crash As Dozens Injured When Ride Derails Going Downhill

A tourist train carrying 37 people—36 tourists and a train operator—at the Eco Land Theme Park on the South Korean island of Jeju has been derailed while traveling downhill, according to local police.

The train, which travels through the forest grounds of the theme park, slipped off its track after two of its four passenger carriages fell sideways. One person was severely injured, while at least 23 suffered minor injuries, according to the Jeju Fire and Safety Headquarters.

One tourist in her 60s who was aboard the train said: "The train suddenly swung to the left while going on a downhill curve."

Police estimate the train was running at a speed of around 5.6 mph when it slipped and crashed to the side of the track.

According to a park official, the accident may have "occurred due to poor operation, strong wind and rain."

The train operator told police: "As it was raining, I hit the brakes while heading downhill but the train slipped and fell over."

In the summer, high temperatures and the humidity of the North Pacific air mass lead to intense rainstorms on Jeju island. During the winter, the northwest monsoon can result in severe temperature differences, according to Visit Jeju, the island's official tourism website.

Police are investigating the cause of the latest incident.

Modeled after a Baldwin steam train from the 1800s, the Eco Land theme park train runs around every 10 minutes at a speed of 3.1 to 6.2 mph, passing through five stations.

The train runs on a railroad track about 2.8 miles long circulating around 7.1 million square feet of park grounds.

The train journey offers a tour of the ecosystem of the Gotjawal Forest of Hallasan, the highest mountain in South Korea.

Passengers are advised not to stand up or lean on the door when inside the train and children should be seated in the middle.

Back in late March, a train collision in Egypt killed at least 32 people and injured some 66 others.

The trains were moving through the province of Solag, some 286 miles south of Cairo. Emergency brakes in the first train were triggered by "unknown individuals," causing the train to halt sharply, according to the country's railway authority.

A second train then crashed into the first from behind, causing two carriages to fall off the tracks.

South Korea Jeju Island 2020
A view of a bridge on Jeju island's Hallasan, the highest mountain in South Korea, pictured in May 2020. Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images