CNN reports that a tragic accident in Pierce County, Washington involving a 501 Amtrak passenger train led to several fatalities.
The spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office has told the news organization that “multiple” passengers were dead, but was not able to give reporters an official estimate. Cars traveling on I-5 were also damaged as at least one train car fell onto the highway causing injuries to the vehicle occupants.
A total of 77 people were sent to hospitals in Pierce and Thurston County.
After the horrific incident, which happened at 7:40 a.m. near DuPont and just 20 miles from Tacoma, the southbound lanes of the I-5 were closed, bringing traffic to a sudden stop. Many drivers told CNN they had to act fast to avoid rear-ending other vehicles once the road was blocked.
While we await more information regarding this horrific accident and the factors that contributed to it, CNN reports that after the tragic crash, a semi and a crushed truck were found underneath the train cars.
The train involved in this terrible accident travels from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, connecting 18 cities along the 1-5 corridor, according to an online schedule provided by CNN. Monday had marked the first day the 501 train was traveling a new route outside Tacoma.
As authorities look into this occurrence to learn just what happened prior to the train derailment, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that it is also gathering information regarding the accident.
Speaking about the tragic accident, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took to Twitter to express his sympathies and to thank first responders who managed to help so many victims.
“We’re praying for everyone on board the train, and ask everyone to hold them in your thoughts,” he added.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of this horrific tragedy and their loved ones, who need all the support we can offer more now than ever.