Amtrak train derails on highway bridge in Washington

19 December, 2017, 11:02 | Author: Leticia Riley
  • Multiple Fatalities After Train Derails In The US During First Journey On High Speed Route

At least six people were killed by the derailment of an Amtrak train near Tacoma in the U.S. Washington state Monday morning, local authorities said.

"We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve", passenger Chris Karnes told local CBS News affiliate KIRO-TV.

Wendy Simmons arrived as people were helping the injured and saw first responders climbing into the train cars dangling over the edge of the overpass.

A spokeswoman for Washington State police, Brooke Bova, confirmed the death toll, adding that all train cars had been searched by emergency personnel.

And at least 22 people were taken to three hospitals for treatment of injuries caused by the incident, according to a non-profit network of hospitals and clinics.

Local officials had anxious about trains going at higher speeds through the curves in the area.

Five vehicles and two trucks were involved in the accident as 13 of the train's 14 carriages jumped the tracks.

The National Transportation Safety Board, for its part, says it is opening an investigation into the incident and sending a team to the site Monday.

"All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill", he said.

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'Next thing, we're being slammed into the front of our seats.' People kicked out windows to escape, he said.

Below you can listen to the calls exchanged on the dispatch for the BNSF Railway, as the train's conductor bursts into the confusion of chatter and calls for help after its derailment, courtesy of Broadcastify.

Cars from an Amtrak train lay spilled onto Interstate 5 below as some remain on the tracks above, December 18, 2017, in DuPont, Wash. "We will do everything in our power to support our passengers and crew and their families".

The $181 million Point Defiance Bypass project had been in the works for more than a decade.

Local officials had anxious about trains going at higher speeds through the curves in the area. The trains were expected to reach speeds of 79 miles (127 kilometers) per hour through the densely populated area with the improved systems and track.

Earlier this month, Don Anderson, the mayor of the town of Lakewood, which lies along the new route, had warned that the rails were dangerously close to highways and pedestrian crossings.

"Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements", he said, according to KOMO News. "People were screaming." Karnes said the tracks were supposed to have been upgraded to accommodate higher speeds.

"I knew right away that this was a major accident, that there was probably going to be some pretty, pretty graphic fatalities and injuries, so I prepared myself for the worst going in - and I hoped for the best - and there was both", he said.

President Donald Trump on Monday used a multi-casualty train crash to plug his promise to invest in the nation's infrastructure.

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