'We're on the ground': Amtrak train derailment south of Tacoma k - KPTV - FOX 12

'We're on the ground': Amtrak train derailment south of Tacoma kills 3

Posted: Updated: Dec 18, 2017 02:22 PM
Image: KIRO Image: KIRO
Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department
Image: WSDOT Image: WSDOT
PIERCE COUNTY, WA (KPTV/CNN) -

An Amtrak train bound for Portland derailed south of Tacoma Monday morning, spilling multiple cars off an Interstate 5 overpass and killing several people on the train, according to the spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. 

Several motorists in vehicles that were struck by the fallen train cars suffered injuries, but there were no fatalities among people in those vehicles, the sheriff's department said.

The deaths "are all contained to the train," said Ed Troyer, sheriff's department spokesman. "It's pretty horrific."

Troyer said there were "multiple fatalities" but couldn't provide a precise number. The Associated Press reported at 10:30 a.m. that at least six people had been killed, but Washington State Patrol reported at 4 p.m. there had been three confirmed deaths. 

There was a massive closure of Interstate 5 around DuPont and Amtrak service was disrupted. 

The Washington State Department of Transportation reports 60,000 people use southbound I-5 in the area each day. It is unknown when the highway will reopen, but drivers are advised to expect major delays on alternate routes into the evening.

Drivers using alternate routes are advised to use “extreme caution.” 

Train 501 was listed on the Amtrak website as a train on the Amtrak Cascades route, which departed Seattle at 6 a.m. and the train was the inaugural run of new route service. The train's destination was Portland. 

According to the Washington Department of Transportation, the maximum train speed for the route is 79 mph. 

Amtrak said approximately 78 passengers and five crew members were on board Train 501. 

Radio transmission from the train contains audio that says "We're on the ground." 

According to Cary Evans, the communications and government affairs director for CHI Franciscan Health, 77 patients were being transported to hospitals in Pierce and Thurston Counties. 

Of the 77, four are considered "level red patients with the most severe injuries."

Evans said patient transportation was being coordinated from the command center at St. Joseph Medical Center and the Pierce County Disaster Management Command Center. 

Patients were also being sent to St. Claire’s, St. Anthony’s and Tacoma General. 

Amtrak said anyone with questions about friends and family on Train 501 should call 800-523-9101. 

Here is the full statement released by Amtrak at 9:30 a.m.:

Amtrak Cascades Train 501, operating from Seattle and Portland, derailed south of Tacoma, Wash. There were approximately 78 passengers and five crew members on board. Initial reports are that some injuries are reported to passengers and crew, and taken to local medical facilities for treatment.

Individuals with questions about their friends and family on this train should call (800) 523-9101.  Local emergency responders are on the scene. 

Service from Seattle to points north and east is continuing to operate. Amtrak Cascades Trains 504 and 509 are cancelled. No alternate transportation will be available.

Additional updates will be provided when available.

Amtrak regrets any inconvenience. This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant.

President Donald Trump reacted to the derailment on Twitter.

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