Just after midnight local time on Monday, an Amtrak train derailed in southwestern Kansas, reports CNBC News. Officials report that the derailment, which involved several cars on the Amtrak’s Southwest Chief Train 4, injured at least 30. The Amtrak train, which was travelling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it derailed, had 14 crew members and 128 passengers aboard.
The Amtrak train reportedly derailed around 20 miles west of Dodge City, and the dozens injured were taken to hospitals in Dodge City and Garden City for treatment, according to Ashley Rogers, the Gray County spokesperson. While neither she nor Amtrak representatives would comment on the conditions of the injured, an earlier press release from the U.S. train service indicated that none of the 30 people injured in the Amtrak train derailment suffered life-threatening injuries.
The passengers involved in the Amtrak derailment who escaped injury were transported to a local recreation center in Cimarron. From there, they were provided with alternative transportation to their final ticketed destination.
The Amtrak train derailed on a stretch of track owned by BNSF Railway. The two companies are reportedly working together to determine the cause of the derailment, which involved a train with two locomotives and nine cars. According to local media reports, when the Amtrak train derailed, five of the nine cars were involved, and early images of the crash showed that there were several train cars either leaning or laying on their sides.
As a result of the Amtrak derailment, a portion of U.S. Highway 50 was closed.
Reports came out almost immediately from passengers who’d been aboard the derailed Amtrack. Daniel Szczerba was one of those passengers, and he took to Twitter to post his photos and videos that illustrated the disarray at the scene of the derailment. He also tweeted a video of the emergency response to the scene, which also featured people wandering around the derailed Amtrak cars.
Daniel Szczerba, according to his tweets, was one of the lucky, uninjured passengers.
Another passenger’s mother reported to a local media outlet that her daughter had been rescued through a window after the Amtrak train derailed. The passenger’s mother also reported that the derailment of the Amtrak train happened after the train had been shaking for some time at speeds of roughly 75 MPH.
According to a Fox News report, an engineer on board the train noticed a “significant bend in a rail” before the Amtrak train derailed. The engineer reportedly hit the emergency brake moments before the derailment. An anonymous U.S. official also confirmed to the Associated Press that the derailed Amtrak train was likely travelling around 75 MPH when the emergency brake was engaged. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they lacked the authority to speak publicly in relation to the ongoing federal probe into the derailment.
Amtrak reports that the route of another of its trains, the Southwest Chief Train 3, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, would be detouring on Monday as a result of the derailed train. It will temporarily run from Newton, Kansas to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
While this most recent Amtrak derailment seems to have spared the lives of all involved (29 of those injured in the derailment have reportedly already been released from the hospital), Amtrak is no stranger to deadly accidents. Just last May, an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia. The derailment of the train, which had been bound for New York, killed eight and seriously injured 43 others. In that incident, an investigation uncovered that the derailed Amtrak train had been traveling at double the recommended speed when it entered a curve.
At this early stage of the investigation into Monday’s derailed Amtrak train, it could be weeks or longer before the public has answers about what caused the accident.
[Photo by Daniel Szczerba/AP]