An Amtrak train collided with a CSX freight train in South Carolina early Sunday morning, the second crash to have happened within the past week.
The collision happened in Cayce, South Carolina. Two Amtrak personnel were killed and dozens were injured, according to the Associated Press. The train was en route from New York to Miami; Amtrak said eight crew members and 139 passengers were on board. All passengers have been removed from the train.
Here’s what we know so far.
Why Did The Train Crash?
Amtrak train 91 collided with a freight train, authorities said early Sunday morning. The collision caused 5,000 gallons of fuel to spill and authorities are working to contain the leaks.
The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the incident. At a briefing on Sunday, NTSB chairman Robert L. Sumwalt confirmed earlier reports that the CSX train was on the right track, and that Amtrak was on the wrong one. Sumwalt said he did not know the speed of the train at the time of the crash, and that authorities are still gathering the necessary materials for the investigation, and would be able to provide more information Monday.
CSX said in a statement its personnel are on site to assist authorities and will provide more details as they develop.
How Many Fatalities and Injuries Have Been Reported?
The coroner’s office of Lexington County in South Carolina confirmed the two people who were killed were Amtrak personnel. They have been identified as 54-year-old Michael Kempf, an Amtrak engineer from Savannah, Georgia, and 36-year-old Michael Cella, the train’s conductor, from Orange Park, Florida.
“We are deeply saddened to report the death of two of our employees in this morning’s derailment,” Amtrak said in a statement.
The Governor said Sunday morning 116 people were transported to local hospitals. Amtrak says 147 people — 8 personnel and 139 passengers — were on the train that derailed. No one was on the CSX train, local authorities said.
“We just awoke to violent shaking; I just knew immediately we were off the tracks and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening,” Erin Wittman, a passenger on the train, told MSNBC.
The passengers who were not injured were taken off the train and transported to a local school, where Red Cross staff are on site. Alternative modes of transportation have been provided to take them to their destinations, local authorities said.
President Trump Briefed
The President, who is spending the weekend at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., has been briefed on the situation and is receiving regular updates. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement.
Trump tweeted similar sentiments, including thanking first responders, shortly after noon eastern time.
The crash in North Carolina comes less than a week after an Amtrak train carrying Republican lawmakers to their annual retreat crashed into a truck in Virginia, killing a passenger in the vehicle, and sparking calls from some lawmakers for reform.
As incidents repeat, with injuries and deaths, inaction is inexcusable,” Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote on Twitter. “America’s railroads must be made safer.”
Trump called for the passage of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan during his State of the Union last week, touting the desire to “build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways across our land.”
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