Three die as train derails on highway bridge in Washington state

Toni Houston
December 19, 2017

But what was supposed to be a joyous morning turned into tragedy as the first Amtrak Cascades train to traverse the route derailed, killing several people. At least two dropped onto the roadway below, a busy highway that connects Olympia to the busy Seattle metro area just to the north.

"We moved down to the trains that were more seriously damaged that had flipped upside down, and luckily I had brought a headlamp with me from my vehicle, because the trains were all dark, and there was a lot of wreckage, and some of them were upside down or the roofs were caved in", Konzelman said.

The train that derailed Monday during the morning rush hour left the track as it was about to cross over southbound lanes of I-5 near the south end of the bypass.

"All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill", passenger Chris Karnes told Seattle broadcaster KIRO TV. As they went through train cars one by one, he said they came across a train attendant who appeared to have serious back injury.

"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".

The state's Department of Transportation says it does not know when that stretch of I-5 will reopen.

The mayor told local source KOMO on December 5 that the new route would lead to a deadly accident.

"There was one person who was injured in our auto, and I was sent to go find help for them".

Karnes said that people had escaped the wreckage by kicking out windows.

Local officials had warned only weeks ago that the track still might not be safe enough to handle trains at higher speeds.

The deadly crash "shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly", tweeted President Trump, who was briefed on the derailment.

A section of the Amtrak train 501 derailed as it crossed a bridge over a major highway in Washington State. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble!

But the technology was only expected to be used next year when it is activated on the entire rail corridor, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

At the time, analysts said positive train control technology could have prevented the accident.

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