Amtrak Survivor Details Moment High Speed Train Crashed

A man who survived a deadly Amtrak train crash outside of Tacoma, Washington Monday recalled the exact moment the tragic accident began.

Chris Karnes, who took the Amtrak Cascades Train 501 to be on the Community Transportation Advisory Group inaugural run, described hearing a "creaking" in the moments before the crash in an interview with ABC News.

The train derailed around 7:30 a.m., sending train cars careening onto the highway below. Officials said 72 people were taken to hospitals, including train passengers and crew members and people who were in their cars on the highway when the train crashed. At least six people died in the accident, officials reported, which may have been caused by excessive speed, investigators have speculated.

"We were going down the tracks between 70 and 80 miles an hour, I would say, and we heard a creaking, a little bit of a creaking sound," Karnes told the news site.

After that, the "train started to wobble for a moment," he recalled.

"And then we were catapulted at the seats in front of us, and the next thing that we knew, our car had crumpled at a portion at the top, and we were down an embankment," he continued.

After the train derailed, Karnes, who was not seriously injured, said his car "came to rest on a hill."

"There was water, and a ton of dust flew up into the air," he recalled.

"I don't know how to describe the noise. There was a crash. We knew that something had happened," he added.

He told ABC he saw dozens of people being carried to a medical tent on a stretcher.


"I did see one person who was not moving when we got out of the train through the emergency window," he said.

Photo credit: WSDOT