'Multiple fatalities' after Amtrak train derails near Seattle
By: Lisa Montoya, Xiro Xone News December 18, 2017 Updated: 2:16 PM PT
An unknown number of fatalities and dozens are injured after an Amtrak train derailed off an overpass of a busy highway.
The train consisted of 14 cars -- 12 Talgo passenger cars, each containing 38 seats, which serviced business class, coach cars and bistro service -- and two locomotives were left scattered in the woods while some were hanging off the overpass.
Amtrak president and co-CEO Richard Anderson said "We had a very tragic event this morning.”
"On behalf of everyone at Amtrak, I want to express that we are deeply saddened by all that has happened today. Our very first concern is taking care of everyone on board. We will fully and completely and openly cooperate with the NTSB."
Cary Evans, vice president of communications and government affairs at CHI Franciscan Health said 77 people were taken to hospitals in Thurston and Pierce Counties. Four of those were described as being in the most serious condition.
The train was traveling on a new route for Amtrak. This track had had been recently upgraded for higher speeds. Amtrak said “using this route would allow for two more daily round-trips between Seattle and Portland and help trains avoid traveling around tight corners and tunnels.” Washington state's Department of Transportation said "today was the first day of public use of the tracks after weeks of inspection and testing.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in Pierce and Thurston counties.
Inslee also said the derailment is "a serious and ongoing emergency," adding, "[Washington State First Lady Trudi Inslee] and I are holding in our hearts everyone on board, and are praying for the many injured.”
Anyone who needs information about friends or family who traveled on the train should call (901) 523-9101.