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Washington train derailment is latest in string of Amtrak accidents

Amtrak train derails

An Amtrak train derailed south of Seattle, Washington, on Monday, sending train cars tumbling onto a busy interstate. Sheriff's department officials said there were multiple fatalities and injuries. A spokesperson with St. Joseph's Medical Center said 77 patients are being transported to hospitals in Pierce and Thurston counties, including four with severe injuries.

The train that derailed had just left the Tacoma station and was on the very first run of new high-speed Cascade service, en route from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.

Amtrak train passenger describes scene of derailment


The train is able to carry up to 250 people, but Amtrak said there were approximately 78 passengers and five crew members on board at the time.

Passenger Chris Karnes, who was on board the train when it derailed, said emergency doors were not functioning correctly, which forced passengers to kick out train windows to exit. 

"We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve," Karnes said. "And all of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and then all of a sudden it felt like we were heading down a hill, and the next thing that we know, we're being slammed into the front of our seats, and the windows are breaking, and then we stop, and there's water that's gushing out of the top of the train and all the lights go out and people are screaming." 

Monday's derailment follows a number of other recent accidents involving Amtrak trains.

Some other recent Amtrak derailments:

• April 3, 2016: Two maintenance workers were struck and killed by an Amtrak train going more than 100 mph in Chester, Pennsylvania. The lead engine of the train derailed.

• March 14, 2016: An Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed in southwest Kansas, sending five cars off the tracks and injuring at least 32 people. Investigators concluded that a cattle feed delivery truck hit the track and shifted it at least a foot before the derailment.

• Oct. 5, 2015: A passenger train headed from Vermont to Washington, D.C., derailed when it hit rocks that had fallen onto the track from a ledge. The locomotive and a passenger car spilled down an embankment, derailing three other cars and injuring seven people.

• May 12, 2015: Amtrak Train 188 was traveling at twice the 50 mph speed limit as it entered a sharp curve in Philadelphia and derailed. Eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the locomotive and four of the train's seven passenger cars jumped the tracks. Several cars overturned and ripped apart.

• March 9, 2015: At least 55 people were injured when an Amtrak train bound from North Carolina to New Jersey derailed after colliding with an oversized tractor-trailer that was stuck on the tracks in Halifax, North Carolina.

• June 23, 2014: An Amtrak train hit a vehicle that was apparently driving on train tracks in Massachusetts, killing three people in the vehicle and derailing the train just before midnight in a remote area about 24 miles southwest of Boston. None of the 180 people on board the train was injured.

• Oct. 21, 2012: About a dozen passengers and crew members on an Amtrak train from Chicago to Pontiac, Michigan, were injured when two locomotives and one or more coaches derailed after the train lost contact with the track near Niles, Michigan.

• Oct. 2, 2012: Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed after colliding with a semitrailer in California's Central Valley. At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries. The train was traveling from Oakland to Bakersfield.

• June 24, 2011: A truck slammed into the side of an Amtrak California Zephyr train at a rural crossing 70 miles east of Reno, Nevada, killing six people and injuring dozens. The train was traveling from Chicago to California.

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