An Amtrak derailment in Vermont has sent at least six people, possibly more (reports vary) to area hospitals with minor injuries, Fox News is reporting.
As the Amtrak Vermonter was making its nearly 14-hour daily journey from St. Albans, in northern Vermont, to Washington, D.C., the train came upon a rockslide around the town of Northfield. Passengers said the train, which they believe was traveling at about 50 mph, apparently hit some rocks on the track at about 10:30 a.m. local time. At least two cars, according to CNN, derailed from the track and slid down an embankment.
We are aware of the derailment of train 55 in VT. Emergency personnel are on the scene & we are assessing the situation. Updates to follow.
— Amtrak (@Amtrak) October 5, 2015
In a statement made available via the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, Amtrak confirmed that rocks appear to have played a role in the derailment.
“Amtrak management is responding to the reported derailment of Train 55 – the Vermonter – in the area of Roxbury, Vermont. The train was traveling from Saint Albans, VT to Washington, DC when it derailed after reportedly striking a rock slide on the tracks. … First responders are on the scene. There are no immediate reports of any life-threatening injuries. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”
Describing the derailment to ABC News, passenger Ian Turpin, a 24-year-old from New York, said he heard a “heavy thud.”
“The car was shaking from side to side and I could tell something was going off the tracks.”
Wow.. Parents were just in a train accident in the NE.. They are safe but others injured. pic.twitter.com/xYEMXNJhjY
— Brian bell (@BrianABell1980) October 5, 2015
According the Argus, the Amtrak’s engine and two cars slid down an embankment — the engine’s windows are shattered and the vehicle is, as of this post, resting against some trees near “a steep drop off.” Two other passenger cars are completely off of the tracks; a third car is sitting diagonally across the tracks; while the remaining cars are safely on the tracks.
At least one passenger, the Argus reported, jumped into the engine car to help the crew, although it’s not clear, as of this post, what kind of help the passenger provided.
Rescue crews from several jurisdictions in central Vermont are on the scene.
Burlington TV station WCAX reports that six passengers were taken to area hospitals to be treated for non life-threatening injuries. At least one passenger was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. That passenger’s condition is not known as of this post.
Those passengers who weren’t injured will be taken by school bus to Norwich University, where they will be given food and temporary housing. Amtrak intends to get them to the rest of their destinations by bus.
Monday’s Amtrak derailment recalls a much more severe derailment that took place in Philadelphia on May 12 of this year. An Amtrak train bound for New York City traveling at about 102 mph in a 50 mph stretch of track took a curve too fast, derailing the train. Eight people were killed and over 200 were injured in the Philadelphia derailment.
Although outdated technology may have played a role in the Philadelphia derailment, such does not appear to be the case in the Vermont derailment — Amtrak officials say that stretch of track had recently been rebuilt and was “state of the art.”
Officials believe about 80-100 passengers were aboard the Amtrak train when it derailed.
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images / Alex Wong]