Washington, Dec 19: An Amtrak train derailed during its inaugural run on a faster route from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, sending passenger cars tumbling from a bridge onto a major highway, killing at least three people and injuring about 100 others.
Thirteen of the train`s 14 cars jumped the tracks near the town of DuPont, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said. Officials said 77 passengers and seven crew were aboard.
Five vehicles and two trucks were involved in the accident, and the highway was littered with fragments of the bridge and tree branches. Some motorists were injured but none died, authorities said.
“We have been told there are three casualties at this time,” Bova told a news conference, adding about 100 people were transported to area hospitals. “There are a lot of critical injuries.”
She said all of the train cars have been searched, and emergency efforts would likely extend through the night and into the morning.
Several hours after the 7:34 a.m. (1534 GMT) crash, train cars remained dangling from the overpass, with others strewn across Interstate 5, a major West Coast route stretching from the Canadian to Mexican borders.
“It was just a scene of chaos and piles of twisted metal,” said Ted Danek, administrator for the city of Dupont who visited the site shortly after the derailment.
Some of the people aboard escaped by kicking out windows, passenger Chris Karnes told local news outlet KIRO 7.
“All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill,” Karnes said.