At least three dead as train derails over Washington state highway

At least three dead as train derails over Washington state highway

At least three dead as train derails over Washington state highway

A website that maps location and speed using data from Amtrak's train tracker app showed the train was going 81.1 miles per hour (129 kph) about a quarter of a mile from the point where it derailed, where the speed limit is significantly lower.

Passenger and railway buff Chris Karnes described to the Seattle Times the horror that unfolded on the doomed train.

Local news outlets reported that dozens of people were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

Pictures from the scene showed one train vehicle overturned and crushed on the interstate highway and another dangling down from the overpass above.

The crash occurred on the first day Amtrak trains ran on a new route between Washington's Tacoma and Olympia. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were looking at the scene to determine the cause.

CBS News affiliate KIRO-TV reports first responders are treating the derailment as a mass casualty incident.

"Amtrak 501, emergency emergency emergency, we are on the ground", he said, according to an audio recording of the call. "A lot of them were screaming and moaning, but there was nothing we could do to help them really, so we just stayed with them, we held their hands, we talked to them, we rubbed their backs, tried to get them to just relax and try to be a comfortable as they could", he said.

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He was unhurt and is now near the medical tents set up in a median area between north- and sound-bound Interstate 5, just south of DuPont, Washington.

The accident marred the launch of faster services on the route after a $181 million upgrade project that included improving the rails, the signaling technology and the locomotives.

The train was reportedly travelling at more than 80 miles per hour when it derailed.

The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79mph, according to information about the project posted online by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Earlier this month, Don Anderson, the mayor of the town of Lakewood, which lies along the new route, had warned that the rails were dangerously close to highways and pedestrian crossings. "I'm not sure what happened", he said.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said: "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Wash".

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