Breaking News: High-speed Amtrak Cascade Train Wreck derails 13 of 14 Trains Off of Track in DuPont, Washington with 77 Injuries and 6 Fatalities — Interstate HIghway 5 Southbound Lanes Closed — Videos

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The solid route is the updated line that opened Monday. Because it's straighter than the old Puget Sound route, trains could go faster See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Train engineer Robert Bregent gives his expertise on the Amtrak derailment

High speed Amtrak train derails in DuPont, Washington

Alex Rozier discusses being on the train earlier in the morning

BREAKING NEWS AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILED DuPont Washington 6 Dead & 77 Injured Crashed onto Interstate

BREAKING NEWS DECEMBER 18, 2017: At least six dead and 77 injured’ after new high-speed Amtrak train derails after it ‘hit something’ on its FIRST day of service sending rail cars flying onto the interstate below.

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.

An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to on the condition of anonymity.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured. No fatalities of motorists were reported. Train 501 was going south when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.

Amtrak confirmed its train was involved but did not provide further information. ‘We are aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501,’ the rail operator said on Twitter. ‘We will update with additional details as they become available.’

It was the first day of the new $181million high-speed Cascade service, which rerouted trains down 14 miles of updated track. The new bypass between Tacoma and DuPont is straighter, meaning that trains can go faster than they did on the windy old line.

The possibility that the wreck was caused by something on the tracks fed into concerns voiced by local officials about the risk of high-speed trains crossing busy streets.

The mayor of a town near the derailment had warned about the danger of an accident at a public meeting only two weeks ago.

A Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman said there were multiple fatalities on the train, but declined to give an official number,

Despite the fact that the train hit several cars and trucks on the freeway below, no motorists were killed.

An estimated 77 people were injured, with some being rushed to the hospital and others treated at the scene. A spokesman for Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia said his hospital had received 11 patients. Chris Thomas did not know their specific conditions. Two patients were in the operating room as of early morning, one of them in serious condition, he said.

Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and the train. 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.

Local officials were wary about the new line, voicing their concerns about the high-speed trains going through curves at top speed at a meeting earlier this month.

The mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a city along the new route, predicted a deadly crash — but one involving a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a grade-crossing. At a recent public meeting, he called on state planners to build overpass-like rail structures instead of having trains cross busy streets.

‘Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements,’ Anderson said, according to Seattle television station KOMO. ‘Or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens.’

Witness describes ‘unreal’ aftermath of train derailment

Dr. Marc Siegel on injuries suffered in train derailment

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m48d2OA5KTY]

Official: At least six people killed in train derailment

 

At least 6 dead, scores injured after Amtrak train plunges off bridge onto I-5

 An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a new route hurtled off an overpass at an estimated 80 mph Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said.

Seventy-seven passengers, six crew members and one technician were aboard when the train derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle before 8 a.m., Amtrak said. At least 50 people were hospitalized, more than a dozen with critical or serious injuries, authorities said.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said five passenger vehicles and two semi trucks on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured. No fatalities of motorists were reported.

In a radio transmission immediately after the accident, the conductor can be heard saying the train was coming around a corner and was crossing a bridge that passed over Interstate 5 when it derailed.

“Emergency! Emergency! Emergency! We are on the ground!” a radio message from the train came into dispatchers, according audio obtained by Broadcastify.com. “We are on the bridge over I-5 near Nisqually… on the freeway. Need EMS [emergency services] ASAP. Looks like they are already starting to show up.”

Dispatch audio also indicated that the engineer survived with bleeding from the head and both eyes swollen shut.

“I’m still figuring that out. We’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway,” he tells the dispatcher, who asks if everyone is OK.

Trooper Brooke Bova with the Washington State Patrol says the train had 12 passenger cars and two engines, and all but one engine derailed. Five vehicles and two semi trucks were struck by the falling train cars on I-5 causing injuries, but no fatalities on the freeway. The extent of the injuires to those on the freeway is not known.

Chris Karnes was on the train, three or four cars back from the front.

“We had just passed the city of DuPont and maybe two or three minutes after that and we felt a little bit of wobbling and then the next thing that we knew we were being catapulted into the seats in front of us and we could hear the train derailing and metal crunching,” Chris Karns told KOMO NewsRadio. “There were people screaming — everything was dark. We had to kick out the window in order to get off the train.”

Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a State of Emergency for the disaster and has activated the State Emergency Operations Center.

In a conference call with reporters, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said “Positive Train Control” was not activated on the tracks at the time of the derailment. Positive Train Control is a technology that automatically slows down, and eventually stops, a train if it senses the train is going too fast and could derail or get in an accident.

‘Prepared for the Worst and Hoped for the Best’

Motorists said they drove up to find a train car hanging off the bridge, and dozens of Amtrak passengers stranding along the freeway. Motorists on both sides of the freeway began to help them.

Dr. Nathan Selden, a neurosurgeon at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said he and his son drove through the accident scene while traveling north to visit Seattle. The doctor asked if he could help and was ushered to a medical triage tent in the highway median.

The most seriously injured had already been whisked away, but the patients he helped appeared to have open head wounds and skull, pelvic or leg fractures, as well as small cuts and neck sprains, he said.

He called it a miracle that an infant child he saw from the scene appeared completely unharmed.

Daniel Konzelman, 24, was driving parallel to the train on his way to work as an accountant in Olympia. He was about 30 seconds ahead of the train on the freeway when he saw it derail.

Konzelman, who was driving with a friend, told the Associtaed Press he pulled off the freeway and then ran down along the tracks and over the bridge to get to the scene. They saw three cars and a semi-truck on the freeway that had been damaged by the derailment. There were train cars with their roofs ripped off, or that were tipped upside down, on both sides of the track or turned sideways on the bridge.

They climbed into train cars and found people hurt – some pinned underneath the train, others who appeared to be dead, he said. If they were mobile and seemed stable, he helped them climb out. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to comfort them by talking to them.

“I just wanted to help people because I would want people to help me,” he said. “I’m an Eagle Scout. I have a lot of first-aid training and emergency response training.”

They stayed for nearly two hours before hitting the road again.

“I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I saw a little bit of both,” he said.

Southbound I-5 To Remain Closed For Extened Period

All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 are closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and are expected to remain closed for the rest of the day, according to the State Patrol. Troopers have set up a number of detours, including one allowing drivers to cut through Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“We have a detour that’s going through Center Drive through the base,” Trooper Brooke Bova said. “JBLM is being amazing and they’re really helping us get traffic through there but please expect congestion through that area. That is one of our biggest detours.”

Other detours take drivers around into Kitsap County or far into eastern Pierce and Thurston County.

High-speed Amtrak train ‘hit something’ before derailing on Washington State line – killing at least six and injuring 77 – as it’s revealed high-tech system designed to PREVENT accident was NOT enabled

  • An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday, killing at least six and injuring 77
  • Seventy-eight passengers were on board, in addition to five crew members 
  • The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing one car to crash onto the freeway below 
  • Five cars and two semi-trucks were struck by the falling car, but no motorists were killed
  • It was the first day of a new high-speed service linking Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon
  • A local mayor voiced his fear about the new train causing a deadly accident earlier this month 
  • An anonymous official said it appears the train may have struck something right before the derailment 
  • High-tech Positive Train Control (PTC) system that each of the brand Amtrak Cascade engines are equipped with was not switched on
  • The NTSB is sending a 20-person team to DuPont to investigate the derailment 
  • Records show that the train was going 81 mph before it derailed, when it was supposed to only be going 79 
  • The president of Amtrak said the train was not equipped with positive train control, which automatically slows a train if it’s going too fast  
  • President Trump blamed the crash on ‘crumbling infrastructure’ in a tweet 

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass Monday near Tacoma and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said. The death toll was expected to rise.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.

An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In addition, the new high-tech Positive Train Control (PTC) system that each of the brand Amtrak Cascade engines are equipped with was not switched on.

The PTC computer system which prevents a train from exceeding a speed limit and can detect objects or collisions ahead is fitted to all the new Charger locomotives on the Seattle to Portland line.

However, according to CNN, at a conference call today, Amtrak President and Co-CEO Richard Anderson said Positive Train Control was not activated on the tracks at the time.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said thirteen of the train’s fourteen cars derailed. One of them crashed onto freeway below, hitting five cars and two semi-trucks. Multiple motorists were injured, but none killed. Police have not given an official death count, but the Seattle Times says it’s at least six.

Seventy-seven people have been hospitalized, with hospital officials saying at least two people are in critical condition and 11 are seriously injured.

Scroll down for video 

An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday - causing multiple injuries and fatalities 

An Amtrak train derailed near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Monday – causing multiple injuries and fatalities

The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing at least one car to crash onto the freeway below

The train derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5, causing at least one car to crash onto the freeway below

Thirteen of the 14 cars on the train derailed in the early Monday morning incident 

In addition to the six fatalities, seventy-seven people were injured - including both passengers and motorists  

In addition to the six fatalities, seventy-seven people were injured – including both passengers and motorists

The train set off from Seattle at 6am and planned to get into Portland, Oregon a little more than three hours later

The train set off from Seattle at 6am and planned to get into Portland, Oregon a little more than three hours later

The derailment happened near the town of DuPont, Washington, on an updated set of train line 

Monday was the first day of the updated Cascade Line service between Seattle and Portland  

Monday was the first day of the updated Cascade Line service between Seattle and Portland

The train was headed south towards Portland, Oregon at the time of the derailment. Passengers are seen disembarking the derailed train 

Seventy-eight passengers were on board at the time, in addition to five crew. The train can fit around 250 people

Train 501 was going south to Portland, Oregon when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.

The train was making the inaugural run on the new Cascade route as part of a $180.7 million project designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that’s bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.

WHAT IS POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL?

The brand new Amtrak Cascade trains are pulled by the brand new Charger locomotive as part of the $181m infrastructure investment.

Each of the Charger engines is equipped with the high tech Positive Train Control (PTC) which enables trains to be automatically or remotely stopped when trouble is found on the line.

The PTC for Train 501 was not due to be switched on until next year.

 PTC is a computer program which enables a the system to monitor the train using GPS and sensors on trains that are tripped along the tracks.

The program operates simultaneously with the running train and slows a locomotive if it exceeds its speed limit and will trip a red light if a collision is imminent or an obstacle has been seen or detected.

The Amtrak schedule called for the train to leave Seattle around 6am and arrive in Portland about 3 1/2 hours later.

The new route includes a bypass built on an existing inland rail line that runs along Interstate 5 from Tacoma to DuPont, near where Train 501 derailed. Track testing was completed in January and February in advance of Monday’s launch, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The possibility that the wreck was caused by something on the tracks fed into concerns voiced by local officials about the risk of high-speed trains crossing busy streets. The mayor of a town near the derailment had warned about the danger of an accident at a public meeting only two weeks ago.

Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and the train.  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.

The president of Amtrak revealed at an afternoon press conference that the new train was not equipped with positive train control, a mechanism that automatically slows the train if it starts going too fast. This is despite the fact that the technology was supposed to be added to the trains as part of the revamp.

DESPERATE EMERGENCY CALL FROM CREW OF AMTRAK TRAIN

The call made by a member of the crew of the Amtrak train in the seconds after the deadly crash has been released.

The call is believed to have been made by the engineer.

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘Amtrak 501 emergency, emergency, emergency… we are on the ground (inaudible) We are on the bridge (inaudible) …on the freeway.’

‘We need EMS ASAP. Looks like they are already starting to show up.

OPERATOR: ‘Hey guys what happened?’

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘We were coming round the corner to take the bridge on the I5 and right there on the Nissqually we were on the ground.’

OPERATOR: ‘Are you… is everybody okay?’

CREW OF TRAIN: ‘I am still figuring that out… we’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.’

Local officials were wary about the new line, voicing their concerns about the high-speed trains going through curves at top speed at a meeting earlier this month.

The mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a city along the new route, predicted a deadly crash — but one involving a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a grade-crossing. At a recent public meeting, he called on state planners to build overpass-like rail structures instead of having trains cross busy streets.

‘Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements,’ Anderson said, according to Seattle television station KOMO. ‘Or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens.’

Two semi-trucks were damaged when one of the train cars fell onto the freeway below 

Five cars were damaged when the train car fell onto the freeway - but no motorist was killed 

A worker walks the tracks at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington

All southbound lands on I-5 have been shut down while local officials investigate 

All southbound lands on I-5 have been shut down while local officials investigate

A train car's wheels are seen detached from the car on Interstate 5  

A train car’s wheels are seen detached from the car on Interstate 5

Firefighters are seen looking for more survivors on Monday 

A look at some of the tools firefighters brought to free survivors on the train 

A look at some of the tools firefighters brought to free survivors on the train

It's still unclear what caused the train to derail Monday morning. The NTSB will be investigating 

It’s still unclear what caused the train to derail Monday morning. The NTSB will be investigating

The train was traveling on an updated set of tracks that run between Tacoma and DuPont, Washington 

The train was traveling on an updated set of tracks that run between Tacoma and DuPont, Washington

The NTSB will be looking to get the black box fro the train, which will tell how fast the train was traveling when it derailed 

No motorists were killed in the derailment, despite the fact that a car fell on the road below 

No motorists were killed in the derailment, despite the fact that a car fell on the road below

The NTSB is sending a 20 person team to investigate the derailment. Board member Bella Dinh-Zarr addresses reporters about the derailment at a press conference in Washington, DC on Monday 

A look at the new locomotives for the Cascade line

Today was the first day of the new multi-million Amtrak Cascades train service daily along the Portland-Seattle corridor.

The more direct route diverged from the shared track which operated with freight trains.

The project was known as the Point Defiance Bypass.

Avoiding a more scene route along the area’s iconic Puget Sound, the new high speed line is designed to take 10 minutes off the travel time and travel at up to 80mph.

Amtrak issued a press released last week to say that using this route would allow for two more daily round-trips between Seattle and Portland.

It would also help trains avoid traveling around tight corners and tunnels.

The Amtrak/Cascade trains are pulled by a state-of-the art locomotive known as a ‘Charger’.

Weighing 42,000 pounds and able to produce 4,400-horsepower they new, quieter and faster engines have been testing for the last month.

They are equipped with positive train control systems which automatically stop trains when troubled is detected. However, these are not due to be activate till 2018.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said that at the moment it has no theories as to what caused the derailment.

 The NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash, but most won’t be on the scene for several hours because they’re flying commercial. The 20-person go team’s  flight is scheduled for 6:55pm and its a five-hour flight.

When they finally get to the scene, the investigators will obtain the black box which will show how fast the train was going when it derailed and whether the engineer braked when they needed to. They will also look at the condition of the tracks and question the train crew.

Mary Schiavo, a transportation analyst for CNN, hinted that the curve in the road might be to blame for the derailment.

‘This train was about to enter or was entering a curve and while they had to modify the tracks and test the tracks – and all of this work was done at the beginning of December – local officials in Washington were highly critical of sending a train at this speed through his area…they specifically warned that it needed to slow down at the curves in the track.

‘I always like to say, whether its a train crash or a plane crash, the laws of physics are the only laws you can’t break. And while they tested it…testing as opposed to running a full-sized, fully-loaded train over the track changes the physics. It changes the dynamics of the forces that you have in that curve.

‘It’s like racing a motorcycle. As you approached that curve, the centrifugal forces on the train change dramatically and I bet the NTSB is gonna pay a lot of attention to the topography and whether the train was entering a curve,’ Schiavo said.

Audio has been released of the engineer talking to emergency dispatchers immediately after the crash.

‘Amtrak 501 emergency, emergency, emergency, we are on the ground!’ the engineer is heard saying.

‘Need EMS ASAP. It looks like they are already starting to show up,’ the engineer continues.

‘He guys, what happened?’ a dispatcher asks.

‘We were coming around the corner to take the bridge over 1-5 there right north of Nisqually and we went on the ground,’ the engineer responds.

‘Ok, is everybody ok?’ the dispatcher asks.

‘I’m still figuring that out,’ the engineer responds. ‘We’ve got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.’

Passenger Chris Karnes was on his way to do some Christmas shipping with his boyfriend with the derailment happened.

He told KIRO that he was on the third for fourth car, and said the emergency doors were not functioning so they had to kick out the train windows to escape.

Photos from the scene show three to four cars rolled off the track and into the woods on the side of the road.

‘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 tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds,’ he continued. ‘I’m not sure what happened at this juncture.’

Maria Hetland was driving to work on the northbound lanes when traffic slowed and she noticed the crash.

‘As we were coming up the hill I rolled my window down and saw the train,’ she told the Seattle Times. ‘It was awful.’

Hetland said she could see people walking around the roadway near the derailment, and people sitting on the side of the freeway wrapped in blankets.

Many rail enthusiasts were on the train to make the first trip of the new high-speed service

Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on Monday

Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington State on Monday

Numerous paramedics were seen at the scene on Monday 

Numerous paramedics were seen at the scene on Monday

Above is the train tracks where the train derailed Monday morning 

Above is the train tracks where the train derailed Monday morning

Konzelman, who was driving with a friend, said he pulled off the freeway and then ran down along the tracks and over the bridge to get to the scene. They saw three cars and a semi-truck on the freeway that had been damaged by the derailment. There were train cars with their roofs ripped off, or that were tipped upside down, on both sides of the track or turned sideways on the bridge.

They climbed into train cars and found people hurt — some pinned underneath the train, others who appeared to be dead, he said. If they were mobile and seemed stable, he helped them climb out. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to comfort them by talking to them.

‘I just wanted to help people because I would want people to help me,’ he said. ‘I’m an Eagle Scout. I have a lot of first-aid training and emergency response training.’

They stayed for nearly two hours before hitting the road again.

‘I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I saw a little bit of both,’ he said.

Alex Rozier, a King TV reporter, told NBC News that he got off the train about 10 minutes before the derailment, after taking footage early on in the inaugural trip.

He said there were many people on the train for its first trip, including rail enthusiasts. Passengers were given commemorative lanyards for the journey.

The new service is supposed to make the journey between Portland and Seattle in 3 hours and 20 minutes, about 10 minutes faster than previous services.

Part of the reason why the new route is faster is because it diverges from the main line on a 14-mile bypass between DuPont and Tacoma.

The new track is a straighter line so the train can go faster, while the old track was windy and made the journey slower.

The bypass already existed but had the tracks needed to be updated for high-speed trains, which heat up the metal on the tracks more significantly

Monday’s inaugural trip was the culmination of the $181million project, that also included construction of a new train station at Tacoma.

Amtrak service south of Seattle on the line is temporarily suspended. Service is continuing to the north and east of the crash.

The derailment has also caused traffic chaos on Interstate 5, with all southbound lanes shut down and just two lanes getting by northbound.

The State Police said that the southbound lanes will at least be closed down for the rest of the day.

They are asking that people stay off I-5 if they don’t need to use it.

The freeway is a heavily trafficked road, with even more Washingtonians expected to be on the road this week to do Christmas shopping in sales-tax-free Oregon.

Family of victims are being asked to report to the DuPont City Hall to be reunited with their loved ones. They are being told not to come to the scene.

President Trump used the deadly derailment to call for more infrastructure spending in a tweet sent about three hours after the accident. He said the wreck, on a newly completed bypass, shows ‘more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly.’

Ten minutes later, he expressed his sympathies for those who were killed.

‘My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White house, he added.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5191431/Amtrak-train-derails-highway-bridge-Washington-state-media.html#ixzz51emnm2C3

 

 

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