Newly released 911 calls provide glimpse inside deadly Amtrak de - KPTV - FOX 12

Newly released 911 calls provide glimpse inside deadly Amtrak derailment

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DUPONT, WA (KPTV) -

Newly released 911 calls from passengers on Amtrak 501 are providing a glimpse inside the chaos of the deadly derailment.

The train that derailed in DuPont, Washington on December 18 killed three people and sent 70 others to the hospital.

In the 911 calls released from South Sound 911 Dispatch, passengers on the train can be heard gasping for air and begging for help. Some people were so shocked, they couldn’t manage to tell operators how old they were.

911: “What are you reporting?"

Caller: “We've been on an Amtrak train accident. We're south of Tacoma, north of Olympia. Tons of people are hurt."

Inside the tangled crash scene were 77 terrified passengers and 6 crew members.

911: “I need to know where exactly you are ma’am.”

Caller: “I don’t know!”

Dazed passengers who were still conscious after impact, and managed to hang on to their cell phones were gasping to catch their breath and pleading for help.

911: “911 is anyone injured?”

Caller: “Ya, we’ve got a couple cuts and blood.”

Authorities said the train barreled through a curve at 78 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone.

Caller: “It jackknifed off the rails.”

Amtrak 501 derailed along both sides of the tracks, toppling some cars onto Interstate 5.

Caller: “There are bodies lying everywhere."

Initial 911 calls were met with disbelief.

Caller: “We got a 911 call - says at Mounts Road, the railroad crossing. A train derailed onto I-5 and lots of people are dead. You getting any calls on this?”

911: “No.”

But soon that would change - calls from bleeding, disoriented passengers started pouring in.

Caller: “It's an overpass and the train is hanging off the overpass. It's landed on vehicles.

Some drivers on I-5 thought they’d been hit by a mudslide, they were stuck in their cars in complete darkness. In the recordings 911 operators can be heard trying to calm victims, many were too shocked to make sense of where they were or what just happened.

911: "OK are you still on the tracks or are you on the road on I-5?"

Caller: "I don't know where we are."

911: "OK ma’am we've got multiple calls for you. OK, so I want you to stay as calm as you can."

In the midst of all the anguish, a little girl noticed people trying to help each other - including her own mother, who’s a nurse. The girl says her mother stopped the car in I-5 and jumped in to help.

Caller: “I’m in the car my mom told me to stay in the car, there are a lot of people helping each other.”

The derailment happened during the first run of a new 15-mile route.

The investigation is still at an early phase. The NTSB expects it could take more than a year to complete.

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