On Monday morning in DuPont, WA, several cars derailed on an overpass on Interstate 5. Early reports have stated that there were approximately 83 people who were on board the train at the time of the incident: 78 passengers and 5 members of the crew. At least 77 people were injured and taken to local hospitals in Pierce and Thurston Counties; of those 77 people, 4 are considered to be “level red.”
Rescue operations are still underway as the train dangles onto the highway.
"Today’s tragic incident in Pierce County is a serious and ongoing emergency,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a statement issued this morning. “Trudi and I are holding in our hearts everyone on board and are praying for the many injured. They are our top priority, and I know first responders are doing everything to ensure everyone has the care they need." He went on to state that everyone in the area should avoid I-5 and that the Washington State Department of Transportation was working to find alternative routes.
Passing Vehicles Struck by the Derailing Train
Although several motorists were injured after being hit by the falling cars, there were no fatalities among them. The spokesman of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office stated that the deaths were “all contained to the train.”
Authorities have reported that there have been at least three fatalities.
"Unfortunately, I think the fatality count is probably going to grow as we know it over the next few days," said Congressman Denny Heck following the accident. "Something went very, very wrong and there is some questions that we will demand to be answered."
Currently I-5 is closed as the crash is being investigated. The National Transportation Safety Board has reported that they will be sending their team from Washington, D.C. today to the site of the crash to investigate the cause of the incident.
According to Amtrak’s website, today was the first day of the new service from Seattle to Portland. Previously, the track had carried freight trains; it had only recently been upgraded to carry passengers.