Early Monday morning an Amtrak train derailed on an overpass above Interstate 5, which was heavy populated at the time. No one on the highway was fatally injured, but officials are claiming there have been several deaths aboard the train itself. Fatalities have not yet been numbered, but 77 individuals were taken to the hospital in relation to the incident, 4 of them with severe injuries.
The crash happened around 7:40AM PST, and happened to be the trains very first run along a new service route. The President and Co-CEO of Amtrak stated that a common technology called “Positive Train Control”, which attempts to slow the train if sensors indicate it is moving to quickly, was not activated at the time of the incident. The National Transportation Safety Board announced shortly after that it will be sending a 20-person team to investigate the derailment.
Of the 14 cars that made up the train, 13 of them had derailed by the end of the event, sending rail cars into the woods and onto the highway. Officials state that 5 cars and 2 semi-trucks on the roadway below were actually impacted by the train cars.
A survivor, Chris Karnes gave a statement to ABC News stating:
“The train started to wobble for a moment,”
“And then we were catapulted at the seats in front of us. And the next thing that we knew, our car had crumpled at a portion at the top and we were down an embankment.”
A brave motorist who witnessed the crash, also gave a statement to ABC describing the gruesome incident:
“I climbed into the train cars that were turned sideways on the bridge and there was people inside still. Some of them couldn’t move with neck, head and back injuries, so we stabilized them and tried to find a ladder somewhere to help get them out… until the first responders could get there,”
One car he reached looking for survivors had:
“flipped upside-down and burst open and pinned the occupants underneath the train. … A lot of them were screaming and moaning, but there was nothing we could do to help them really, so we just stayed with them, we held their hands, we talked to them, we rubbed their backs, tried to get them to just relax and try to be a comfortable as they could.”
Updates to come as more information is released.