LOS ANGELES – A high-speed Amtrak passenger train derailed on Monday in the northwestern US state of Washington, resulting in “multiple fatalities” and many people injured, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said.
Train 501 was en route from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, when it went off the tracks on Monday during the morning rush hour as it was crossing an overpass over Highway I-5 near the town of DuPont, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Seattle.
The Seattle Times reported that at least three people had died in the mishap and other media outlets reported that there were six fatalities, but none of those possible deaths has been confirmed by authorities as yet.
There were 78 passengers and 5 crewmembers on board the train at the time of the crash, Amtrak reported.
Although some vehicles traveling on I-5 below were struck by cars and debris from the train, apparently nobody was killed on the roadway and the deaths “are all contained to the train,” according to sheriff’s office spokesman Ed Troyer. “It’s pretty horrific,” he added.
A total of 77 people, including train passengers as well as possibly people traveling in cars on I-5, were taken to local hospitals, the Seattle Times reported, citing health services.
Meanwhile, the Spanish train manufacturer Talgo told EFE that it had made the train’s cars although not the locomotive.
The Amtrak Cascades Web site reported that four new trains would be placed into service between Seattle and Portland starting on Monday.
Photographs posted on Twitter show that multiple train cars jumped the track and at least one of them fell off the overpass onto the roadway below, the southern lanes of which were blocked by authorities after the accident.
At least one other train car was left dangling from the bridge over the highway.
Train passenger Chris Karnes told CBS that when the train derailed it was rounding a bend.
Initial television images of the scene showed a large number of emergency vehicles on hand to attend to the injured.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said on his official Twitter account that that “this is an ongoing and serious situation.”
President Donald Trump tweeted that “Our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers are with the victims of the train derailment in Washington State. We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with local authorities...”
The train had departed from Seattle at 6:00 am and the incident took place at 7:40 am between the Washington cities of Tacoma and Olympia.