DUPONT, Wash. – An Amtrak train was dangling above an interstate in Washington after it derailed on its first day of service.
Authorities tell KCPQ that the train was carrying passengers on Amtrak’s new route #501 from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon.
Many of the passengers are transportation officials, including Chair of Pierce Transit’s advisory board Chris Karnes. Karnes tweeted that there was “massive damage” and that “people are hurt.”
The train has derailed. Emergency crews are on the scene. Massive damage. People are hurt. pic.twitter.com/f62gjUrZN1
— Chris Karnes 🌹🌎🚈 (@TacomaTransit) December 18, 2017
Officials with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office say that several people have died or suffered injuries in the derailment, but exact numbers are not known. However, they say that the train did strike several cars that were traveling on I-5.
Authorities say multiple motorists were injured, but no drivers were killed in the crash.
“I was traveling to work this morning along I-5 and we came to a sudden stop,” Greg Mukai told CNN. “We all tried to stop quickly to avoid running into each other to be honest. Once we all came to a stop I was able to look up and see, unfortunately, this scary thing of … a train hanging off of the overpass. Lots of military personnel and people ran to try to help the best they could.”
— Pierce Co Sheriff (@PierceSheriff) December 18, 2017
Investigators say the train was likely traveling at around 80 miles per hour when it derailed.