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Amtrak train crash kills 6 in Seattle, passengers panic: 10 developments

Five vehicles and two trucks were involved in the accident, and the highway was littered with fragments of the bridge

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Amtrak train crash kills 6 in Seattle, passengers panic: 10 developments
Photos from scene of amtrak passenger train derailment. Source: Twitter @PierceSheriff)

An Amtrak passenger train derailed near the State town of DuPont, sending rail cars plunging onto a busy interstate during the morning rush hour and resulting in injuries and deaths. Amtrak said in a tweet is it aware of the incident, which involves train No. 501 that was southbound from heading for Portland, Oregon. The accident occurred near DuPont, Washington, roughly 50 miles south of 1. Derailment on inaugural day The derailment occurred on the first day Amtrak trains began using the new inland route between the cities of Tacoma and Olympia, part of a $181 million project to cut travel time, according to an October news release from the state’s transportation department and Amtrak. The rerouting takes trains along I-5, enabling them to reach speeds of 79 miles per hour (127 km per hour). Monday’s southbound Seattle-to-Portland train, whose scheduled departure time was 6 a.m. (1400 GMT), was the first to take the new route, which uses tracks owned by a commuter line. It was not immediately clear whether the derailment was connected to the new route. 2. At least 6 dead, 100 injured At least six people were killed after an derailed and fell off a bridge in southwest of on Monday and more than 100 transported to hospitals. According to the Guardian, the death toll is expected to rise as several were injured in the accident. Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer was quoted as saying that there were fatalities on the train and that motorists had been injured. 3. Amtrak tweeted the incident Soon after the crash, Amtrak took to Twitter to inform people that they were aware of the derailment. "We are aware of an incident involving 501. We will update with additional details as they become available," Amtrak tweeted.

From Amtrak President and co-CEO Richard Anderson regarding train 501: “On behalf of everyone at Amtrak, we are deeply saddened by all that has happened today. We will do everything in our power to support our passengers and crew and their families.”
4. Passenger recounts incident
"We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve," passenger Chris Karnes told local CBS News affiliate KIRO-TV. "All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill," said Karnes, adding that several cars had gone off the tracks and passengers kicked out the windows to escape. "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." Karnes said the tracks were supposed to have been upgraded to accommodate higher speeds. Five vehicles and two trucks were involved in the accident, and the highway was littered with fragments of the bridge and tree branches. Some motorists were injured. People post pictures and videos on Instagram to express their anguish

A post shared by Brad Walters (@bradwalters80) on

A post shared by Paulina Cray Cray (@goats4lifelilac) on

5. touts infrastructure plan after derailment
United States President called for an infrastructure plan after the incident. "The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!" Trump tweeted. President Trump took to Twitter to pay his condolences to the victims and their families. "Our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers are with the victims of the train derailment in State. We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with local authorities...," President Trump tweeted. 6. Service from continues Amtrak said that service from to points in north and east continue to operate. It also said that Amtrak Cascades train 504 and 509 are cancelled. No alternate transportation will be available. 7. Photos of the incident captured Photographs posted online from the scene showed multiple cars had derailed from the train. At least two dropped onto the roadway below, a busy highway that connects Olympia to the busy metro area just to the north. 8. Curve where derailed in has speed limit of 30 mph The speed limit at the curve where the train crosses Interstate 5 is 30 miles per hour, said state transportation department spokeswoman Barbara LaBoe, while the speed limit on most of the track is 79 mph. The Times reported that the train was supposed to slow dramatically before entering the curve where the crash occurred. Russell Quimby, a consultant who was previously an investigator-in-charge for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said it appeared to him that the derailment was caused by speed. He said the track appeared relatively undisturbed, so it seemed unlikely that something knocked the train off the track, and he noted that it appeared the train drove in a straight line, missing the turn. 9. Amtrak Derailments in the US Federal Railroad Administration statistics show that in recent years Amtrak has had an average of about two derailments a month, accounting for about one-quarter of all the accidents it reports. Most derailments happen at low speeds on yard and station tracks, though, and they have rarely caused more than minor injuries. According to NYT, Last year, after an struck a backhoe and killed two track maintenance workers in Chester, Pa., the National Transportation Safety Board criticized Amtrak for having a weak safety culture. Amtrak responded that it had been a “safe and reliable transporter of more than 30 million passengers” and that it had a strong safety record. But Amtrak added that “we need to assess how we can get better.” 10. Trump wanted to cut funding to Amtrak In May, Trump released his transportation budget, which dramatically slashed federal aid to Amtrak by 13 per cent. Amtrak covered 94 per cent of its costs in 2016 with ticket sales but relies on government funding for capital investment and repairs. It currently operates on an annual budget of $18.6 billion.

First Published: Tue, December 19 2017. 10:41 IST