A passenger train has derailed southwest of Seattle Monday morning.
Emergency crews are at the scene tending the many injured people after an Amtrak derailed during the morning commute. The train derailed at an overpass near Dupont, with one car hanging precariously from the overpass while the front cars went down the nearby ravine.
It is unclear how the train derailed, however, early reports indicate the train may have struck a car on the tracks. The train was traveling at 81 miles per hour when it flew the tracks, but it is capable of going much faster.
It appears the train was the new Amtrak 501 route, which began running Monday from Tacoma to Portland.
Emergency responders are treating this as a “mass casualty event”, and are frantically searching the train for those most seriously injured.
Passenger Chris Karnes spoke with CBS News on what it was like being inside the derailed passenger train.
“At a certain point it seemed like we were reaching a sort of a bend in the tracks and all of a sudden we were slammed into the seats in front of us, and then the car careened down an embankment,” he said.
“After that happened, we could hear and feel the cars crumpling and breaking apart, and water came out from the ceiling. Lot of dust, all over the place. In order to get out of the car we had to kick out the emergency window because the emergency doors were not functioning.”
Those driving on their morning commute had a similarly horrifying story. “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.”
Although the train is capable of seating 250, only 75 people were onboard when the train derailed according to Washington State Department of Transportation.
Fatalities have been confirmed by first responders, but the exact death toll has yet to be released.
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