'At least three killed' in Amtrak train derailment in Montana
At least three people have been killed and several more injured after an Amtrak train running between Seattle and Chicago derailed in north-central Montana.
Starr Tyler, an official with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, told The Associated Press three people died in Saturday’s derailment. She did not have more details.
Amtrak said in a statement there were multiple injuries.
The westbound Empire Builder train derailed at about 4pm local time near Joplin, a town with a population of about 200, Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said in a statement.
The accident scene is about 240km north of Helena and about 50km from the border with Canada.
The train had about 141 passengers and 16 crew members onboard, Abrams said, and consisted of two locomotives and 10 carriages. Seven of those carriages derailed.
Megan Vandervest, a passenger on the train who was going to visit a friend in Seattle, told The New York Times the car behind hers was tilted over, the one behind that was entirely tipped over, and the three cars behind that “had completely fallen off the tracks and were detached from the train”.
Speaking from the Liberty County Senior Center, where passengers were being taken, Vandervest said it felt like “extreme turbulence on a plane”.
Amtrak is working with the local authorities to transport the injured and safely evacuate all other passengers, Abrams added.
“We are deeply saddened to learn local authorities are now confirming that three people have lost their lives as a result of this accident,” he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board will send a 14-member team, including investigators and specialists in railroad signals and other disciplines, to investigate the crash, spokesman Eric Weiss said.
Photos posted to social media showed several cars on their sides. Passengers were standing alongside the tracks, some carrying luggage.
The images showed sunny skies, and it appeared the accident occurred along a straight section of tracks.
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