Rat causes panic, stampede aboard Taipei Metro train

Two passengers were injured in a stampede caused by a 10cm-long rat on Wednesday (July 4), Taipei Rapid Transit officials said.

Bags, shoes and spilled drinks can be seen strewn on the floor of the train in photos and videos posted to social media.

In a statement released later that day, officials said that the incident occurred at 9.04am local time aboard a train departing from Daan Park Station in the direction of Xiangshan Station.

Some passengers screamed and attempted to flee into the next carriage when they spotted the rat. This caused other passengers who were not aware of the rat to panic, leading to a stampede.

Officials confirmed the incident with the aid of CCTV footage and assisted about 700 passengers in transferring to another train at the next stop, Daan Station. Train service was delayed by three and a half minutes.

Three to five rats are caught in Taipei train stations each month, officials added. This is because many stations are located adjacent to food and beverage outlets, which are attractive breeding spots for pests.

According to local newspaper Apple Daily, some netizens described the incident as reminiscent of scenes from the 2016 South Korean horror movie, Train To Busan.

In the movie, a zombie manages to board a high-speed train and causes mass panic as the passengers are infected one by one.

Drinks spilled on the floor of the Taipei train were mistaken for bloodstains, reported Apple Daily.

Officials said they had not caught the rat responsible, but would continue to step up sanitation and measures to prevent pests from entering stations and trains.

Some measures mentioned in the statement included the use of traps and physical barriers, such as metal meshes placed over drainage pipes.

Items left on the train would be collected and kept at Daan Station for owners to claim by July 11, officials added.