Vehicle Accident in USA on December 18 2017 04:57 PM (UTC).
An Amtrak train on its inaugural ride on a new line in Washington state Monday was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, the National Transportation Safety Board said, citing data recorder information. Bella Dinh-Zarr, an NTSB board member, said at a news conference late Monday that information from the data recorded in the rear locomotive provided information about the train's speed. Dinh-Zarr said it was not yet known what caused the train to derail and that "it's too early to tell" why the train was going so fast. Transportation Department spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe said earlier Monday the curve where the train was crossing has a speed limit of 30 mph, the Seattle Times reported. "Engineers are trained to slow trains according to posted speeds," LaBoe said. Additionally, Amtrak President Richard Anderson told reporters in a conference call that Positive Train Control - the technology that can slow or stop a speeding train - wasn't in use on the stretch of track where the derailment unfolded. The FBI said in a statement that there was no information to suggest a nexus to terrorism or any elevated risk to Washington residents. The agency was assisting the NTSB in its investigation. Amtrak train 501 heading southbound derailed around 7:30 a.m. local time after it left the new Tacoma station. The derailment left at least three people dead, while 72 people were hospitalized for medical evaluations, police said. Photos from the scene showed at least one train car completely detached and fallen onto Interstate 5 below, while another dangled in the air. Drivers on the highway were injured, but none were killed, police said.
An inaugural ride on Amtrak's new line meant to speed train service in Washington state turned deadly Monday after a train carrying more than 80 people derailed outside of Tacoma - causing several train cars to tumble from an overpass onto an interstate highway, officials said. "Multiple fatalities" were reported after Amtrak train 501 derailed about 7:30 a.m. along Interstate 5 as it was leaving the new Tacoma station, Pierce County Sheriff's Spokesman Ed Troyer said. He did not specify the number of people killed. The train was traveling southbound from Seattle when it derailed. Police previously said several cars were struck by the Amtrak train cars, injuring multiple drivers on the highway. No motorists' deaths were reported, according to Pierce County officials. Amtrak said 78 passengers and five crew members were on board the train, part of its "Cascades" service from Seattle to Portland, Ore. It received reports of passengers and crew members injured that were taken to the hospital. Service for two Amtrak Cascades trains were canceled. A highway camera showed at least one train car toppled onto the road, causing a traffic jam. Photos tweeted by Washington State Patrol Public Information Officer Brooke Bova showed one detached and smashed on the ground. Another car was dangling from the overpass. Chris Karnes, who was on the train - three or four cars back from the front - told The Associated Press: "I'm not sure what got hit. I'm not sure what happened." Bova told Fox News' "Happening Now" that people are advised to avoid Interstate 5 and that clearing the area will be an "all day" process. Kaines, the chair of Pierce Transit's advisory board, said on Twitter "The train has derailed. Emergency crews are on the scene. Massive damage. People are hurt." He said the train appeared to have hit a truck, adding that the car was "destroyed." The train was going 81.1 mph moments before the derailment, according to transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad's train tracker app. The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79 mph, according to information about the project posted online by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Wendy Simmons told Q13 Fox she arrived shortly after the derailment as people were helping the injured. "First responders actually climbed up into the dangling cars to get people out," Simmons said. "People were pulling first aid kits out of their cars -- putting jackets on people."The National Transportation Safety Board said a "go-team" is departing from Washington, D.C., to investigate Monday's derailment. The Federal Railroad Administration also tweeted it has investigators en route to the scene. The Washington State Department of Transportation said that drivers should expect long delays and avoid the area. Southbound Interstate 5 near DuPont was closed shortly after the derailment after traffic backed up for miles. Washington Sen. Patty Murray tweeted she was "heartbroken by the news." Monday was the first day of schedule changes to include two new round trips between Seattle and Portland, according to the Amtrak website. Amtrak train 501 is part of the new route running between Portland and Seattle daily. The Washington Department of Transportation spent $180.7 million project on passenger train improvement project, which sped up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that's bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic. Monday's accident came just two weeks after Lakewood mayor Don Anderson made a chilling comment saying it was only a matter of time a deadly derailment will occur, according to KOMO News. He advocated for grade separations to protect people from trains.
An Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over a major highway in Washington state on Monday morning, sending part of the train crashing down onto Interstate 5 and killing several passengers, authorities said. A spokesman for the local sheriff's office, Ed Troyer, told reporters at the scene there were "multiple" deaths. He said no motorists were killed, though some were injured when part of the train struck cars. Amtrak passenger Chris Karnes told local news outlet KIRO 7 that passengers were forced to kick out train windows in order to escape because emergency doors were not functioning properly following the derailment. "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."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 that Amtrak trains began using a new track between the cities of Tacoma and Olympia, part of a project to reduce travel time. The new route takes trains along Interstate 5, eliminating a major choke point for passenger trains in Tacoma and allowing trains to reach speeds of 127km/hr, the department has said. It was not immediately clear whether the derailment, which came during a busy travel time one week before the Christmas holiday, was connected to the new route. Amtrak confirmed its train was involved and said "some injuries" had been reported but did not offer further details. The train derailed around 7.30am local time in DuPont. A photograph posted by a Washington State Police spokeswoman showed an upside-down train car partially crushed on the highway, with a second car dangling off the overpass. 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. "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 6am and arrive in Portland, Oregon, at 9.20am, according to an Amtrak timetable. Monday was the first day that Amtrak offered a 6am departure on its Amtrak Cascades line as part of the rerouting project. The mayor of one of the towns through which the rerouted trains travel warned earlier this month that the high-speed trains were dangerously close to cars and pedestrians. "Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens," Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson told transportation officials in early December, according to Seattle's KOMO News.