On Monday morning, an Amtrak passenger train derailed over the Interstate 5 overpass in Pierce County, Washington. The train fell on multiple cars below. The Washington state Department of Transportation’s Twitter account posted. There have been multiple injuries and casualties reported by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and Amtrak. Most of the lanes on the interstate highway have been shut down until further information.
One of the passengers, Chris Karnes told local news KIRO 7 that passengers were forced to kick out windows of the train to escape as the emergency doors were not functioning properly. “We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve,” Karnes said. “All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill.”
“I was travelling to work this morning along I-5 and we came to a sudden stop,” Greg Mukai told CNN. “We all tried to stop quickly to avoid running into each other, to be honest. Once we all came to a stop I was able to look up and see, unfortunately, this scary thing of … a train hanging off of the overpass. Lots of military personnel and people ran to try to help the best they could.”
Danae Orlob told CNN there were a semi and a crushed truck underneath the train cars. “We came around the corner and it had to have just happened…there were no police there yet. There was one link to the train off to one side and the other on the other side of the freeway. There were crushed cars underneath. There was an insane amount of fire trucks and ambulances heading towards us.”
WSP diverting traffic at DuPont. WSP aiding withbroad closure & getting assistance to scene. pic.twitter.com/fRw4uGNIVv
— Trooper Brooke Bova (@wspd1pio) December 18, 2017
According to an online schedule, the 501 train is one of Amtrak’s Cascades trains, which they say “connect 18 cities along the I-5 corridor including Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, BC, and Eugene, Oregon.”
The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that the Amtrak train that derailed is a passenger train.
“NTSB is gathering information about an accident involving an Amtrak passenger train near Seattle, Washington. Additional information to follow when available.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted, “Thank you to the first responders on the scene. We’re praying for everyone on board the train, and ask everyone to hold them in your thoughts.”
About 70 people were aboard the train, local news media reported, citing the state transportation department. Authorities warned drivers to avoid the area, and the southbound lanes remained closed. The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that it was gathering information about the incident.
We are aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501. We will update with additional details as they become available.
— Amtrak (@Amtrak) December 18, 2017
“Thank you to the first responders on the scene. We’re praying for everyone on board the train, and ask everyone to hold them in your thoughts,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee wrote in a Twitter message.
The train had been scheduled to leave Seattle at 6 a.m. and arrive in Portland, Oregon, at 9:20 a.m., according to an Amtrak timetable. Monday was the first day that Amtrak offered a 6 a.m. departure on its Amtrak Cascades line as part of the rerouting project.