DuPont, WA: Speeding Amtrak passenger train derails and crashes onto southbound Interstate 5.
A speeding Amtrak passenger train near DuPont, Washington derailed and crashed southbound Interstate 5 at 7:34am PT on Monday, December 18th, 2017.
The Amtrak passenger train, Amtrak #501, spilled along the side of a hill, along a bridge, and on southbound lanes of Interstate 5, including a passenger train car hung precariously over southbound lanes of Interstate 5.
Reports that good samaritans and first responders rushing to the calls for help, including people who had been in cars on their morning commute.
At least 3 people were killed and 72 people were taken to near by hospitals following the derailment and crash.
Of the people taken to hospitals, 9 people had minor injuries, 4 people had moderate injuries, 10 people were in serious condition, and a person in serious condition was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
Preliminary findings from the data recorder showed the Amtrak passenger train was traveling 50 mph over the speed limit when it careened off an overpass and spilling onto the interstate below.
According to National Transportation Safety Board Member Bella Dinh-Zarr, information from the data recorder in the rear locomotive showed the train was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone when it derailed.
The focus in the investigations turns to why was the Amtrak passenger train was speeding and if there was anything that cause the Amtrak passenger train to speed up.
According to National Transportation Safety Board Member Bella Dinh-Zarr, it’s not yet known what caused the train to derail and that “it’s too early to tell” why it was going so fast.
According to Amtrak President Richard Anderson, positive train control, which is technology that can slow or stop a speeding train, wasn’t in use on this stretch of track.
According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, southbound Interstate 5 in the DuPont, Washington area will remain closed at least through the Tuesday morning commute and motorists should expect lengthy delays on all alternate routes and avoid the area if possible.
Another alternate route for drivers traveling south would be to take State Route 16 to State Route 3. Drivers could also take State Routes 507, 510, or 7 on the east side of Interstate 5.
The Washington State Department of Transportation urged motorists headed northbound on Interstate 5 to stay on Interstate 5 and to not take alternate routes because it will make the situation worse.
Officials worked through the night and started removing train cars from the roadway and rail overpass.
Once the cars are removed, crews will assess the interstate to make sure it is safe.
It’s possible the interstate would need to be repaired before opening to traffic, but crews won’t know until the cars are cleared.
A detour was established at Center Drive and Interstate 5 Monday afternoon with traffic driving through Joint Base Lewis McChord to State Route 510, but the Mounts Road Gate will be closed Tuesday morning.
The Amtrak passenger train had on board a total of 85 people, 80 passengers and 5 crew members, and was making the inaugural run on the new route as part of a $180.7 million project designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that’s bogged down by curves, single track tunnels, and freight traffic.
The new bypass was built on an existing inland rail line that runs along Interstate 5 from Tacoma, Washington to DuPont, Washington where the Amtrak passenger train derailed and crashed.
Amtrak released a statement following the derailment and crash saying, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries due to the derailment of Amtrak Cascades Train 501 south of Tacoma this morning,” and “We want to extend our sincere appreciation to Washington State Patrol, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Pierce County EMA, American Red Cross, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and all responders and medical professionals for their assistance.”
The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White House.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2017
United States of America President Donald Trump tweeted, “The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long! My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White House.”
The Amtrak Family Assistance Center is now open to assist passengers and families at the Courtyard Marriott in Tacoma.
Additionally, families with questions about individuals can contact the Amtrak Incident Hotline at: 1 (800) 523-9101.
** ZachNews sends our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the family and friends of the victims in the Amtrak passenger train #501 derailment and crash. **
Stay tuned to ZachNews for more news updates with more information regarding this news story.
** Pictures from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and NBC affiliate KING Channel 5: **