Watch Live: 3 Confirmed Dead After Amtrak Train Derails, Plunges On To I-5 Freeway
Update: At least three people have been killed in today’s train derailment, according to the Seattle Times.
Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told news media that there were fatalities on the train and that motorists had been injured, but not killed. The full extent of the injuries is not yet known.
Amtrak has also released this statement about service disruptions due to the accident:
Amtrak is aware of an incident with Train 501, Cascades service from Seattle to Portland. Emergency services are on the scene and Amtrak management is responding. Some injuries are reported.
Amtrak service south of Seattle is temporarily suspended. Service from Seattle to points north and east is continuing to operate.
Amtrak regrets any inconvenience. This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant.
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Passengers with travel plans also can confirm their train’s status, change their plans or review refund information using a range of tools – including Amtrak.com, smartphone apps or by calling 800-USA-RAIL. Service Alerts, Passenger Notices and other announcements are posted at Amtrak.com/alerts.
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A day after a power failure at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport – the busiest terminal in the world – left thousands of passengers stranded with flights only just beginning to resume, America’s crumbling infrastructure was on display yet again on Monday, but this time, the failure looks much more severe.
To wit, Amtrak train 501 derailed in Pierce County, about 40 miles south of Seattle, according to media reports and images showing the train tumbling off the tracks and on to the freeway below. The derailment happened at around 8 am local time – or 11 am Eastern.
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) December 18, 2017
Images of the mangled wreckage flooded social media…
Interstate 5 is completely closed in both directions and dozens of first responders are heading to the scene, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), as the Seattle Times pointed out.
***DRIVER AlERT*** All lanes of SB I-5 at Mounts Road closed
— WSDOT Tacoma Traffic (@wsdot_tacoma) December 18, 2017
Here’s a livefeed of the scene, courtesy of CBS…
The accident caused “massive damage” and “people are hurt,” according to Chris Karnes, the chairman of Pierce Transit’s advisory board. Police said information about injuries would be forthcoming.
PRELIMINARY INFO – Derailed Amtrak passenger train was heading south bound. Injuries and casualties reported, numbers to come. Media staging area at Eagles Pride Golf Course. #PCSD PIO Troyer enroute, will not answer his cell while driving priority.
— Pierce Co Sheriff (@PierceSheriff) December 18, 2017
Amtrak said in a tweet that it’s “aware of the incident” and will update with additional details…
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
“We don’t have any information at the moment, we’re gathering it,” said Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
“I was just shocked,” said Peter Zimmerman of Olympia. “I couldn’t believe it. It was like something out of a movie.” According to the local TV station, the train was traveling along a new high speed route from Seattle to Portland that had just opened Monday.
According to WSDOT, the train was running down a new bypass created to avoid slow curves and “single track tunnels on the BNSF Railway main line tracks near Point Defiance and along southern Puget Sound.”
The project rerouted passenger trains to an inland route on an existing rail line that runs along the west side of I-5 through south Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont and then reconnects back to the BNSF Railway main line near Nisqually on the east side of I-5.
The traffic back up is now three miles and growing.