iStock/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) — An Amtrak train derailed in Washington state this morning, leaving “multiple fatalities” after part of the train careened off an overpass onto a heavily-trafficked highway below, a local official said.
The number of fatalities on board the train was not immediately clear, but no one was killed on the roadway of Interstate 5 below, according to the Pierce County Sheriff. Several motorists on the highway were injured when their vehicles were struck by the derailed train.
The derailed train was the first to carry paying customers on a new route for Amtrak. This track had carried freight trains, but was recently upgraded to carry passengers. In a press release last week, Amtrak said using this route would allow for two more daily round-trips between Seattle and Portland and help trains avoid traveling around tight corners and tunnels.
In the wake of the derailment, dozens of motorists on the northbound roadway, near Dupont, about 50 miles south of Seattle, sprang into action to help, a witness told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV.
Witness Greg Mukai told ABC News he drove by shortly after the derailment and the “[train] carriage looked like it collided with some cars on the freeway.”
Mukai said he saw smoke everywhere and injured people carried out on stretchers.
Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told CNN, “There are three or four more cars upside-down where you can’t see,” with some in the woods.
About 78 passengers and five crew members were on board the train, according to Amtrak and a Washington state Department of Transportation spokesperson.
The Washington State Department of Transportation said the derailment was blocking all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Mounts Road in Pierce County.
Amtrak said anyone with questions about family and friends on the train can call 800-523-9101.
This story is developing. Please check back for more updates.
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