Two tractor trailers and multiple passenger vehicles were involved in the high speed Amtrak train derailment that claimed the lives of at least six people in Dupont, Washington.
Two Trucks, Five Passenger Vehicles, Involved In Train Derailment Pileup On I-5
The incident happened just before 8 a.m. when a southbound Amtrak Cascades train 501 derailed, with some of the derailed train cars falling off of the railroad overpass onto I-5 below. A total of 13 railcars jumped the tracks. The train is believed to have been traveling at speeds of over 80 m.p.h. at the time of the derailment.
According to Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova, two semi trailers and five passenger vehicles that were traveling on I-5 under the railroad overpass were struck by the derailed rail cars. Police say that multiple drivers were hurt, but none were killed.
So far at least six people have been reported dead. Of the 82 people on board the train, 77 were taken to the hospital.
Derailment Causes Road Closures, Traffic Backups
The incident has caused massive traffic backups. All southbound lanes of I-5 in the area are shut down and are expected to remain closed for the next day or two. Some of the northbound lanes of I-5 are open.
— WSDOT Tacoma Traffic (@wsdot_tacoma) December 18, 2017
A spokesman from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department describes the scene as “horrific”: “When we got to the scene it was obvious that there were some fatalities and there were a lot of injuries and some people were able to get off the train. Multiple cars and trucks were struck by train cars that left the train tracks and went down onto the road. The people that were in all the vehicles, even though when you see the pictures, it’s pretty horrific, at this point nobody in any of the vehicles is a fatal. The fatals are all contained to the train.”
Multiple organizations including the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol responded to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board has been called upon to launch an investigation into the deadly incident.