Multiple injuries and casualties have been reported after an Amtrak train derailed on the maiden voyage of a new high-speed service linking Seattle and Portland.
Train 501 was going south when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40am Pacific Time, causing at least one car to fall onto the freeway below.
Amtrak confirmed its train was involved but did not provide further information. It was the first day of the new high-speed Cascade service, which involved updating 14 miles of track.
‘We are aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501,’ the rail operator said on Twitter. ‘We will update with additional details as they become available.’
Injuries and casualties have been reported after a Amtrak train derailment near DuPont, Washington on Monday
It was the first day of a new high-speed service linking Portland and Seattle
About 70 people were on board at the time. The train can fit around 250 people
Right before the bridge, there is a sizable curve in the track and it’s believed that the train was going about 80mph at the time.
About 70 people were on board the train, which can hold up to 250 passengers.
Law enforcement officials say there have been injuries and casualties, but have not provided any figures yet.
Emergency crews are treating the derailment as a mass casualty incident.
Passenger Chris Karnes told KIRO that at least seven cars derailed. He said the emergency doors were not functioning so they had to kick out the train windows to escape.
Many rail enthusiasts were on the train to make the first trip of the new high-speed service
Amtrak derailment onto I-5 in Washington Staate on Monday
Law enforcement officials say there are injuries and casualties, but have not provided any figures yet
‘We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve,’ Karnes said. ‘All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we’re being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there’s water gushing out of the train. People were screaming.’
‘The tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds,’ he continued. ‘I’m not sure what happened at this juncture.’
Alex Rozier, a King TV reporter, told NBC News that he got off the train about 10 minutes before the derailment, after taking footage early on in the inaugural trip.
He said there were many people on the train for its first trip, including many rail enthusiasts. Passengers were given commemorative lanyards for the journey.
The new service is supposed to make the journey between Portland and Seattle in 3 hours and 20 minutes, about 10 minutes faster than previous services.
Amtrak service south of Seattle on the line is temporarily suspended. Servie is continuing tothe north and east of the crash.