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Six Dead, 77 Injured in Washington State Amtrak Crash

19 December 2017

At least six people where killed when an Amtrak train making the first run along a new route hurtled off an overpass onto a busy road south of the U.S. city of Seattle, authorities said.

The Amtrak 501 train was the first high-speed commuter service to use the new track from Seattle to Portland, launched on Monday morning.

Passenger and railway buff Chris Karnes described to the Seattle Times the horror that unfolded on the doomed train.

None of the fatalities were motorists who were in cars and trucks when the southbound train came off the tracks on a bridge over the Interstate 5 route in Washington state, said Ed Troyer, a spokesman with the Pierce County Sheriff's office.

"We don't know if that number will change", Bova said of the death toll.

At the height of the morning commute Monday, an Amtrak passenger train jumped its tracks and spilled off an overpass in Washington state.

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A conductor in one of the two engines on the train placed the emergency call.

So, on Monday, Amtrak Cascades trains began using a faster, more direct route - using tracks known as the Point Defiance Bypass, which are owned by the Sound Transit agency.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a "go-team" is departing from Washington, D.C., to investigate the derailment.

Karnes said that people had escaped the wreckage by kicking out windows. However, it derailed 7:30 am local time in the city of DuPont, Washington. "A lot of them were screaming and moaning, but there was nothing we could do to help them really, so we just stayed with them, we held their hands, we talked to them, we rubbed their backs, tried to get them to just relax and try to be a comfortable as they could", he said. The trains were expected to reach speeds of 79 miles (127 kilometers) per hour through the densely populated area with the improved systems and track. "I'm not sure what happened", he said.

In early December, Don Anderson - the mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a Tacoma suburb just a few miles from the accident site - had warned that more needed to be done to ensure safety on the route.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump said: "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Wash".

Six Dead, 77 Injured in Washington State Amtrak Crash