Thursday, October 21, 2021

Amtrak passenger train derails in Montana

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Image copyright MTA Image caption The investigators hope to find the train’s brakes

Image copyright MTA Image caption A lead investigator is on his way to the accident site

Image copyright MTA Image caption A photo provided by the Daily Mail shows emergency workers working at the site

Police in Montana say three people were killed when an Amtrak train derailed.

The Train 501 derailed just east of Penrose, Montana, on Tuesday evening.

The train was carrying about 120 passengers and five crew members when it went off the track, CNN reported.

A medical examiner’s office identified two victims as Karen Klein, an 80-year-old woman, and University of Washington professor Carl Heil.

They were both in their mid-70s, the Daily Mail said.

Police said they have located the bodies of Mr Heil and Ms Klein but a search of other the train car have been “very difficult”.

Fifty-eight people were taken to hospitals with injuries, but by Thursday one person was still in critical condition, The Associated Press said.

Assistant Chief William Quistmeier of Penrose Police said none of the injuries were major.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The train left Seattle on Tuesday

Image copyright Daily Mail Image caption Passengers reported a loud noise

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive on Wednesday, but heavy rain meant visibility was low.

The dead were found by an Amtrak train that was on its way to Penrose.

It was not clear what caused the train to derail.

Image copyright AFP Image caption The train was carrying 124 passengers and five crew

Image copyright AP Image caption The train was transporting employees from the Penrose Medical Centre

‘I don’t know what happened’

Train 501 departed Seattle on Tuesday afternoon and stopped in Nampa, Idaho, at 4:23pm local time (2153 GMT).

Four minutes later it was supposed to be heading west toward Billings and beyond, but things took a turn for the worse as it crossed a bridge on the first part of its journey.

Shawn Barclay, a 38-year-old business analyst, said he was travelling to Billings when the train started to sway.

“About halfway across I just heard a really loud bump and the train started to lean forward,” he told the BBC.

“There were people freaking out and pushing each other out of the way.”

Mr Barclay added that he helped some passengers who were injured.

Chad Taylor, 40, was sitting a few rows behind him.

“It’s kind of scary to say the least. I don’t know what happened,” he told CNN.

Marnie Bullart, from the Billings Gazette newspaper, told local ABC News that she sat two rows away from the front of the train and described the people as in shock.

“The video that came out on social media – I don’t know how much of it made it into the news but it was some strong description from passengers on the train and those who were aboard the train,” she said.

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