Amtrak Train Dangles Over Washington Highway After Derailment, Several Dead: Reports

Several people died and many more were injured Monday morning when an Amtrak passenger train derailed and caused several cars to dangle over a busy highway, according to officials and news reports.

The train derailed in Pierce County, Washington—near Olympia—throwing multiple cars off an Interstate 5 overpass, Washington state Department of Transportation officials and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office announced on Twitter.

At least six people who were on the train have died and the death toll is expected to rise, according to the Associated Press and other reports.  No motorist fatalities have been reported, although some people in vehicles along the highway were injured. Outlets including The News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington, report that 77 people are being treated at area hospitals in Pierce and Thurston Counties, including three people with “severe injuries.”

Amtrak said on Twitter that there were approximately 78 passengers and five crew members on board.

A spokesman for Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia tells PEOPLE that the hospital received 10 patients from the accident, all with non life-threatening injuries. The spokesman, Chris Thomas, said three of the victims underwent leg surgery.

Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma accepted 20 of the victims, with nine in serious but stable condition, according to a news release obtained by PEOPLE. The hospital is expected to receive more patients.

Authorities were on scene quickly, and photos of the wreckage showed the damaged train cars toppled over on the road. Police said that several vehicles on the interstate had been struck by the derailed train cars.

The AP reports the train was on its inaugural run and was traveling at more than 80 mph at the time of the crash. Alex Rozier, a reporter for KING5 in Seattle, tweeted a photo of a badge riders reportedly received on the ride.

A Seattle Times reporter spoke to Anthony Raimondi, who said he was on the train when he felt it lean and then “everything went dark.”

Chris Karnes also told The Seattle Times he was on board the train, and said the derailment “sounded like being on the inside of an aluminum can being crushed. And then we were not on the tracks anymore.”

The Tacoma software developer said he specifically chose to be part of the train’s inaugural run.

“Our new Amtrak station was opening up in Tacoma, so I wanted to be on the first train out,” he said.

Amtrak officials announced the incident on Twitter and vowed to post updates throughout the day. The National Transportation Safety Board also told the media they are sending a “Go-Team” to investigate the crash.

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“I was traveling to work this morning along I-5 and we came to a sudden stop,” Greg Mukai, a witness, 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.”

President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident Monday afternoon, initially using the tragedy to highlight his infrastructure plan, and later offering “thoughts and prayers” to everyone involved.

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