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Amtrak Derailment: At Least 50 Hurt in Montana, Official Says

A minimum of three folks had been killed and 50 others had been injured after an Amtrak prepare derailed in Montana on Saturday afternoon, setting off a frantic response by rescuers who scrambled to extricate passengers from vehicles, the authorities mentioned.

Amtrak mentioned that seven vehicles on an Empire Builder prepare had derailed at about 4 p.m. native time close to Joplin, Mont., which is about 200 miles north of Helena. About 146 passengers and 16 crew members had been on board, “with accidents reported,” Amtrak mentioned in an announcement.

The prepare consisted of two locomotives and 10 vehicles.

“Amtrak is working with the native authorities to move injured passengers, and safely evacuate all different passengers,” the rail service mentioned in an announcement.

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned that three folks had been confirmed lifeless.

Amanda Frickel, the catastrophe and emergency companies coordinator for Hill County, Mont., mentioned in an interview that “nicely over” 50 folks had been injured.

She mentioned that rescuers from six counties had been responding to the scene and that as many as 5 hospitals had been on standby to obtain injured passengers. There have been additionally quite a few medical helicopters standing by, she mentioned.

“All people who’s alive has been extricated from the wreck,” Ms. Frickel mentioned.

Officers had evacuated survivors to 2 separate websites and had been doing a head rely. Emergency responders deliberate to place folks up in accommodations as soon as their medical wants had been seen to.

“Each county round is helping,” mentioned Sheriff Donna Whitt of Toole County, Mont.

The Nationwide Transportation Security Board mentioned on Twitter that it was launching a “go-team” to analyze the derailment.

Megan Vandervest, who was going to go to a pal in Seattle, boarded the prepare on Friday evening from Minneapolis, the place she lives.

On Saturday afternoon, she was asleep within the first automotive when she was jolted awake.

“My first thought was that we had been derailing as a result of, to be sincere, I’ve nervousness and I had heard tales about trains derailing,” Ms. Vandervest mentioned. “My second thought was that’s loopy. We wouldn’t be derailing. Like, that doesn’t occur.”

She quickly figured it out. The automotive she was in was totally on the tracks.

However the automotive behind hers was tilted over, the one behind that was fully tipped over, and the three vehicles behind that “had utterly fallen off the tracks and had been indifferent from the prepare,” she mentioned.

Talking from the Liberty County Senior Middle, the place passengers had been being taken, Ms. Vandervest mentioned she felt fortunate that she and the three different folks she was with weren’t injured.

In her automotive, she mentioned, it felt like “excessive turbulence on a aircraft.”

Austin Knudsen, Montana’s legal professional common, mentioned that Montana Freeway Patrol troopers had been amongst these serving to with the rescue efforts. “We’re praying for the protection of all passengers and crew who had been on board,” he mentioned.

Karen Jelly, who works at Holland and Bonine Funeral House, in Havre, Mont., mentioned the funeral residence was ready for a dreaded telephone name from the authorities. “It’s going to be very dangerous after we get that telephone name,” she mentioned.

Ms. Jelly, who moved to Havre 9 years in the past from Wyoming, mentioned the world is extraordinarily welcoming.

She mentioned the group “rallies round folks when issues go dangerous.” Now, she mentioned, “it’s going to be marred by this reminiscence.”

Whereas derailments of Amtrak trains are uncommon, there have been lethal crashes lately.

In 2018, three folks died after an Amtrak prepare traveled on the mistaken observe in South Carolina and slammed right into a parked freight prepare. That very same yr, a prepare carrying Republican members of Congress hit a rubbish truck in rural Virginia, killing a passenger within the truck.

In 2015, an Amtrak prepare that had been touring at greater than 100 miles per hour, twice the velocity restrict, careened off a curve in Philadelphia, killing eight folks and injuring greater than 200.

Andrés R. Martínez contributed reporting.

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