Three dead, dozens injured in train derailment over I-5 near Tac - KPTV - FOX 12

Three dead, dozens injured in train derailment over I-5 near Tacoma

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Image: KPTV Image: KPTV
Image: KPTV Image: KPTV

Three people were killed in a train derailment over Interstate 5 south of Tacoma, according to Washington State Patrol, and the southbound highway will remain closed into Tuesday morning's commute. 

A Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman advised drivers to take state highways on either side of I-5 and check for updates. There is no timeline for reopening southbound I-5 in the area. 

"WSDOT will reopen traffic on Southbound I-5 as soon as it is safe do to so. All entities involved are working as quickly as they can, but we are anticipating that this work may take days, not hours," according to the agency. 

The northbound lanes are expected to remain open. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the derailment of Amtrak Train 501 over the southbound highway near DuPont at around 7:30 a.m. Monday. The train left Seattle at 6 a.m. and was headed to Portland.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said Monday was the first day the train was running on a new route. The track had just been upgraded as part of a $181 million project for a faster path.

Sound Transit, the public transit system for the Seattle area, owns the track and oversaw construction of the upgrades.

Agency spokeswoman Kimberly Reason said extensive testing was done before the opening of the system Monday.

Questions about the speed of the train and possible obstructions on the track will be investigated by the NTSB, according to an Amtrak spokeswoman, and “anything beyond that is pure speculation.”

Amtrak reported 80 passengers and five crew members were on the train when it derailed. There were 12 cars and two engines, with all but one of them coming off the tracks.

Five vehicles and two semis on I-5 were hit by the derailed train.  

The Associated Press reported six people on the train had died, but WSP reported only three confirmed deaths Monday evening. More than 70 people were taken to area hospitals for treatment, with 10 suffering serious injuries. One of those patients was flown to a trauma care hospital. 

Survivors were taken to DuPont City Hall where they either met with friends and family or were given a bus ride to another destination. By 2 p.m., police said everyone had departed City Hall.

MORE: Train derailment survivor: ‘All of a sudden things started to get dark’ 

Amtrak established a family assistance center for survivors and families at the Courtyard Marriott in Tacoma. A hotline was also established at 800-523-9101.

A Hazmat team responded to the scene of the derailment. Firefighters confirmed diesel fuel had spilled into a dirt area next to I-5. Police said around 250 gallons of fuel is believed to have spilled into the soil, but none of it reached the water. 

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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