Chilling audio reveals the moment an Amtrak train 501 derailed Monday during its first ride from Seattle to Portland, a crash that killed at least six people.
“Emergency, emergency, emergency. We are on the ground,” the conductor said after radioing BNSF Railway dispatch. “We are on the bridge… on the freeway.”
“We need EMS ASAP. It looks like they’re already starting to show up,” the conductor added.
The passenger train servicing Seattle to Portland derailed around 7:40 a.m., spilling multiple cars off an Interstate 5 overpass and killing several people on the train in Pierce County, Washington, according to an official at the scene. Seventy-eight passengers were on board, in addition to five crew members, KIRO reports.
Several motorists in vehicles that were struck by the fallen train sustained injuries, but no fatalities among people in those vehicles has been reported, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office said. The incident, which took place near DuPont, between Tacoma and Olympia, led to a shutdown of the interstate.
According to WSDOT, the train was running down a new bypass created to avoid slow curves and “single track tunnels on the BNSF Railway main line tracks near Point Defiance and along southern Puget Sound.”
It was the first day of the new high-speed Cascade service, which rerouted trains down 14 miles of updated track. The new bypass between Tacoma and DuPont is straighter, meaning that trains can go faster than they did on the windy old line.
KIRO-TV reports first responders are treating the derailment as a mass casualty incident. Authorities have not yet provided details on injuries.
"Emergency crews are on the scene and the Amtrak Management is responding," an Amtrak spokesperson said in a statement. "Some injuries are reported. Service between Seattle and Portland is suspended for the time being."
According to an online schedule, the 501 train is one of Amtrak's Cascades trains, which they say "connect 18 cities along the I-5 corridor including Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, BC, and Eugene, Oregon."