An Amtrak passenger train traveling on a new route for the first time derailed Monday in Washington state, killing at least three people as cars plunged off a bridge onto a busy highway at the height of morning rush hour, officials said.
The worst accident over the past decade took place on September 12, 2008, when a commuter train with 222 passengers on board crashed into a freight train at Chatsworth, 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Los Angeles, killing 25.
All but one of the 14 rail cars came off the tracks, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Brooke Bova.
Amtrak carriages fell onto a major motorway today after a train derailed in Washington state. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were looking at the scene to determine the cause.
- October 2, 2012: Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed after colliding with a semitrailer in California's Central Valley.
Local officials had warned only weeks ago that the track still might not be safe enough to handle trains at higher speeds. "We are on the bridge [inaudiable] on the freeway". "After the accident, we had to kick out the emergency window and climb down the embankment in order to get help for the injured passenger".
Conductor: "I'm still figuring that out". Amtrak service south of Seattle has been suspended.
Later reports said around 100 people were transported for treatment.
The multi-year, state-led project cost $181 million, a released from Amtrak stated. "You just knew when you saw it that something disgusting had happened", witness Danae Orlob said.
Amtrak Cascades 501 derailed onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 south of DuPont just before 8 a.m.
"We will do everything in our power to support our passengers and crew and their families", Anderson said. "We will update with additional details as they become available".
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for the counties affected by the derailment and asked motorists to avoid traveling on Interstate 5 while the Washington Department of Transportation works on alternate routes.