At least three people died and several others have been left injured after an Amtrak train that runs between Seattle and Chicago derailed Saturday in central Montana.
The train derailed between the Havre and Shelby stops in Montana. According to reports, 147 passengers and 13 crew members were on board the train at the time. As per reports, those trapped onboard following the accident have been rescued. However, the final count on injuries remains unofficial. Amtrak said in a statement that there were multiple injuries.
Emergency responders are on the scene.
Reports and pictures from passengers show cars tipped over off the tracks.
The train is the Empire Builder line that runs between Seattle and Chicago with a stop in Spokane, Washington. The accident occurred at 4 p.m. near Joplin, a town of about 200, Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said in a statement. The accident scene is about 150 miles (241 kilometers) north of Helena and about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the border with Canada.
Megan Vandervest, a passenger on the train who was going to visit a friend in Seattle, told The New York Times that she was awakened by the derailment.
“My first thought was that we were derailing because, to be honest, I have anxiety and I had heard stories about trains derailing,” said Vandervest, who is from Minneapolis.
“My second thought was that's crazy. We wouldn't be derailing. Like, that doesn't happen.”
Speaking from the Liberty County Senior Center, where passengers were being taken, Vandervest said it felt like “extreme turbulence on a plane.”
Amtrak was working with the local authorities to transport injured passengers and safely evacuate all other passengers, Abrams added.
Photos posted to social media showed several cars on their sides. Passengers were standing alongside the tracks, some carrying luggage.
The images showed sunny skies, and it appeared the accident occurred along a straight section of tracks.
(With inputs from Associated Press)