Authorities are confirming several deaths and injuries after an Amtrak train derailed in Washington state and nosedived from an overpass onto vehicles below. The new Amtrak Cascades Train 501 was southbound on an inaugural run from Seattle to Portland, Oregon and had approximately 78 passengers and five crew members on board.
Police in Washington State say crews cannot search some of the cars from the derailed Amtrak train because they are not secure. The Pierce County Sheriff's Office say it fears there may be more deceased in those cars. Washington State Patrol says the train had 12 passenger cars and two engines and all but one engine derailed.
Amtrak's online train tracker says the passenger train was cruising along at 81 miles-an-hour when it derailed. The cause of the derailment over Interstate 5 south of Seattle is unknown. The "Seattle Post Intelligencer "says the 81-mile-an-hour speed is near the maximum speed for the train.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Office tweeted that several motorists were injured after several train cars fell onto the southbound lanes of busy Interstate 5 near Olympia. The Seattle Times reports that at least six people have died. Five vehicles and two semi-trucks were struck by the train cars on the interstate but no motorists were reported killed.
Emergency workers have been carrying the injured away from the wreckage of twisted vehicles caught on the Interstate-5 overpass. Survivors are being given aid and comfort with blankets under emergency shelters only a few yards from where an train went off the rails. Some of the injured are being placed on backboards before they're loaded into waiting ambulances.
The NTSB is opening an investigation into the crash. NTSB Board Member Bella Dinh-Zarr told reporters the investigation is still in its early stages. and that she expects a full NTSB "go team" to arrive to the scene by by nightfall.