Around 72 people have been injured in the accident, according to Taiwan's Railway Police.
Some media outlets reported 350 passengers were on board at the time.
A packed train derailed in a tunnel in eastern Taiwan on Friday at the start of a long holiday weekend with authorities saying at least 36 passengers appeared to be dead and dozens of others were injured.
The eight vehicle train, traveling to Taitung, came off the rails in a tunnel just north of Hualien Friday morning, causing several carriages to hit the wall of the tunnel, the government-run Central News Agency reported, citing the fire department.
Another live broadcast by local news network UDN showed at least two undamaged train carriages outside the tunnel with rescuers helping passengers escape.
"Is everyone out in carriage four?" a woman is heard shouting from inside the tunnel, in images provided by the fire department.
Between 80 to 100 people were evacuated from the first four carriages of the train, while carriages five to eight have "deformed" and are hard to gain access to, it added.
Reports said a truck fell from a cliff above and landed on the tracks.
In fact, a yellow trailer vehicle could be seen lying on its side next to the derailed train at the tunnel entrance in the videos that have surfaced from the accident spot. "The truck came falling down".
Passengers climbed onto the roof of the derailed trail.
Taiwan's last major rail crash was in October 2018 when an express train derailed while rounding a tight corner on the northeast coast, killing at least 18 people and injuring almost 200.
The lightly populated east is popular with tourists, many of whom arrive along the coastal railway lines to avoid treacherous mountain roads.
Back in 1981, a train collision in Miaoli County, located in the island's northwest region, had claimed the lives of 31 people.