At least three people were pronounced dead and several were injured after an Amtrak train derailed Saturday afternoon in north-central Montana, a local sheriff’s office official said.
Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said in a statement that the Empire Builder train, which departed from Chicago to Seattle, derailed near the small town of Joplin at around 3:55 p.m. local time. Abrams said several people were injured.
The train was traveling on the BNSF Railroad main track at the time, just 30 miles from the Canadian border.
Abrams said about 146 passengers and 16 crew members were on board.
Seven of the ten cars of the train are reported to have derailed.
A train passenger told The New York Times that at the end of the train three cars “falled completely off the tracks and separated from the train.”
She said the fatality felt like “extreme turbulence in the aircraft”.
Images posted on social media showed sunshine and it appeared that the accident took place along a straight section of the tracks. Some showed several cars on their side. Passengers were standing on the side of the track, carrying some luggage.
The evacuated passengers were taken to two sites, including the Liberty County Senior Center. “People who have questions about their friends and family on this train should call 800-523-9101,” Amtrak said in a statement.
The cause of the incident was not immediately clear.
Spokesman Eric Weiss said the National Transportation Safety Board would send a 14-member team, including investigators and experts from rail signals and other subjects, to investigate the accident.
Amtrak said Empire Builder trains leaving Saturday between Minot, North Dakota and Shelby, Montana have been canceled. On Sunday, the westbound Empire Builder train will now end in Minneapolis, while the eastbound Empire Builder train will depart from Minneapolis.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times