One hundred and forty-one passengers and 16 crew members were on board the train which linked Seattle to Chicago and which derailed on Saturday, September 25, in the state of Montana, in the United States. At least three people died and several others were injured, the Amtrak railway company said.
Eight of the train’s 10 cars derailed around 4 p.m. local time (midnight French time) near Joplin, a small town near the border with Canada in northern Montana, according to the company.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that local authorities are now confirming the deaths of three people as a result of this accident”, said the company, which also reported “Several wounded” among passengers and crew. Amtrak said it has dispatched teams to the scene that “Work with local authorities to transport injured passengers and safely evacuate all other passengers”.
The causes of the accident are not yet clearly established. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a federal agency, announced on Twitter that it had opened an investigation.
Video footage posted to social media and disseminated by local media showed people waiting near the tracks, luggage strewn around them, looking at wagons, at least one of which was lying on its side.
More photos from Empire Builder derailment. https://t.co/i2QgZkdGWn
Montana Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Amanda Frickel told the New York Times that “More than 50 people [avaient été] injured “. “All the people alive were taken from the carcass [du train] », she added.
The US rail network suffers from chronic underfunding, and fatal accidents occur regularly. In February 2018, two people were killed and 70 were injured in a collision between two trains, one carrying 147 people and the other freight, in South Carolina (southeast of the country). This collision occurred a few days after an accident between a train in which Republican elected officials were traveling and a truck in Virginia (Southeast), which left one dead and six injured.
In December 2017, three people were killed in a derailment in Washington State (Northwest), which tipped several cars off a bridge over a highway. But the worst rail disaster in fifty years dates back to October 1972, when two commuter trains collided in Chicago, killing 45 and injuring more than 330.