news: Multiple deaths reported in Amtrak train derailment over Washington state highway
An Amtrak passenger train derailed on Monday during its inaugural run along a faster route through Washington state, sending part of the train crashing down onto a major highway and killing an unknown number of passengers, authorities said.
The derailment caused “multiple fatalities,” Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the local sheriff’s office, told reporters at the scene, though he did not offer a specific number. The train struck several cars on Interstate 5, he added, causing injuries but no additional deaths.
Seventy-seven people were transported to hospitals in Pierce and Thurston counties, the Tacoma-based CHI Franciscan Health healthcare network said. Four of them were considered “level red” patients with the most severe injuries.
About 78 passengers and five crew members were aboard the train, Amtrak said in a statement.
Some people escaped by kicking out windows, passenger Chris Karnes told local news outlet KIRO 7.
“All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill,” Karnes said. “The next thing we know, we’re being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there’s water gushing out of the train. People were screaming.”
The derailment occurred on the first day Amtrak trains began using the new inland route between the cities of Tacoma and Olympia, part of a project to reduce travel time, according to an October news release from the state’s transportation department.