Multiple people have been killed after an Amtrak Cascades train derailed onto the I-5 highway in Washington State while travelling from Seattle to Portland.
According to an update from the Washington State Patrol, there have been “multiple fatalities but no confirmation on number of casualties.”
As of 4 pm PT on Monday, Public Information Officer Washington state Trooper Brooke Bova, said at least three people had died, and about 100 people were taken to hospital.
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency, after 13 train cars and two engines jumped the tracks, hitting vehicles on the freeway below.
It is heartbreaking that fatalities have been confirmed in this morning’s passenger train derailment in Pierce County. I cannot imagine the pain these families are feeling. They are in my prayers tonight, along with the families who have loved ones in our hospitals.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) December 19, 2017
Officials say all those who died had been travelling on the train, and no one who was travelling on the highway at the time were killed.
Estimates for the number of people aboard the train have varied from agency to agency. Amtrak’s latest statement puts the figure at approximately 85, including five crew.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries due to the derailment,” said the statement.
“Our first concern is taking care of everyone that was on board Train 501… We will do everything in our power to support these passengers, our employees and their families.”
— Amtrak (@Amtrak) December 19, 2017
MultiCare hospitals, which is treating some of those injured in the derailment, said earlier on Twitter there were 22 people being cared for at three different hospitals around Tacoma.
According to an update from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Twitter, it has received three male patients who were injured in the derailment.
“They are currently being assessed in our emergency department. One male is critical and the other two males are in serious but stable condition,” reads the update.
Three male patients injured from #I5MountsTrain have been transferred for further care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. They are currently being assessed in our emergency department. One male is critical and the other two males are in serious but stable condition.
— Harborview Seattle (@harborviewmc) December 18, 2017
In a statement on Twitter, Amtrak President and co-CEO Richard Anderson said:
“On behalf of everyone at Amtrak, we are deeply saddened by all that has happened today. We will do everything in our power to support our passengers and crew and their families.”
The train derailed south of Tacoma, in Du Pont, at 7:38 am, as it was travelling towards Portland on Monday morning. It had left Seattle at 6 am.
On Twitter, Bova said five motor vehicles and two semi trucks were hit by the train.
The Cascades trains often begin their journey in Vancouver, however, this was a new daily train that only shuttled between Seattle and Portland.
In a statement, the Washington state Department of Transport (WSDOT) said this was the first day of public use of the tracks, after weeks of inspection and testing.
“Today’s tragic derailment… has significantly impacted the lives of many this morning,” said the statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this event and their families.”
The statement said the train will be removed from the highway as soon as emergency response was complete, but they estimate this will be a length process.
Trains from Seattle to Vancouver are continuing to operate, but if you’re driving down the I-5 be ready for delays, diversions, and closures.
According to WSDOT, 60,000 people use that affected section of the southbound I-5 every day, and they think it will likely be closed at least through Tuesday morning.
Anyone worried about friends and family on the derailed train should call (800) 523-9101.