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Amtrak train derails and crashes onto freeway outside Seattle

The train fell off an overpass and crashed into I-5, reportedly killing at least 6 and injuring 77.

by Carter Sherman
Dec 18 2017, 5:16pm

At least six people are dead, according to the Associated Press, and dozens more injured after an Amtrak train derailed and fell off an overpass onto a highway south of Seattle on Monday morning.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a tweet that there “injuries and fatalities,” but officials have yet to give an official death toll. The Tacoma News Tribune reported that the Sheriff’s Office said at least three fatalities were passengers on the train, which Amtrak said held 78 passengers and five crew members.

Estimates vary on the exact number of injuries. Another 77 people were treated for injuries at local hospitals, according to the Tribune, and the Seattle Times reported that four people have severe injuries. While several motorists were injured, the Tribune reported that none are believed to have been killed.

The train was in its inaugural run along a route from Seattle to Portland, the Seattle Times reported, and left Seattle at 6 a.m. local time. It derailed just before 8 a.m., between Lakeview and Olympia, the state capital. A total of 13 cars derailed, according to the AP.

The Washington State Department of Transportation told the Seattle Times that they had yet to uncover the reason for the derailment. However, the train was travelling at 81.1 miles per hour, according to the Associated Press — along a stretch of the route that trains should only travel at 79 miles per hour.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency.

“Today’s tragic incident in Pierce County is a serious and ongoing emergency,” he tweeted. “Trudi and I are holding in our hearts everyone on board, and are praying for the many injured. They are our top priority, and I know first responders are doing everything to ensure everyone has the care they need.”

President Donald Trump also weighed in. “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!” he said in a tweet.

It’s unclear if Trump knows that the derailment is unlikely to be due to a maintenance issue, since the tracks were recently built. About 40 minutes later, he added, “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.”