Dead, At Least 70 injured After Amtrak Train and Freight Train Collide

Feb 07, 2018, 01:41
Dead, At Least 70 injured After Amtrak Train and Freight Train Collide

United States passenger rail operator Amtrak has accused freight company CSX of causing a deadly crash in SC on early Sunday morning, Sputnik reported.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the incident.

The two deceased were Amtrak personnel.

Investigators are now focused on why a railroad switch was set in the wrong position, leading to the Amtrak train off the main line and onto the side track which was occupied by the empty CSX train. Police report that the CSX freight was unoccupied at the time of the high-speed crash.

The coroner's office says the southbound Amtrak train collided with a northbound CSX freight train, which was stationary, causing the Amtrak train to derail.

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He was unable to clarify if any injuries are life-threatening, but added there are no more people on the train. Smith and his friend walked to the crash site and saw passengers of all ages beginning to exit the train.

Sixty-two of those injured were treated in the Palmetto Health hospital system after the crash, Dr. Eric Brown said at a 1 p.m. news conference.

The two dead were Amtrak employees on the passenger train, according to McMaster.

The statement continued, "The lead engine derailed, as well as some passenger cars".

Two members of the Amtrak crew - Michael Kempf, 54, the train's engineer from Savannah, Ga., and Michael Cella, 36, the conductor from Orange Park, Fla., were killed in the crash that happened at 2:45 a.m. Eight crew members and 139 passengers were on board. Responders trained to deal hazardous materials have been called to the scene.

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Amtrak President and Chief Executive Richard Anderson said CSX was responsible for the tracks and signals, including one that had a lock attached to it and diverted the Amtrak train onto the side track.

Donald Trump praised the emergency services and said his thoughts were with all the victims involved.

MCMASTER: We don't know.

Adam Myrick with the Lexington County Sheriff's Department says injuries to other passengers range from small scratches to severe broken bones. In December, an Amtrak train in Washington state derailed while crossing an overpass, spilling cars onto a busy highway and killing three people. One person in the truck was killed in the crash in Crozet, Virginia.

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