An Amtrak passenger train derailed Monday morning, 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.
All SB lanes of I-5 blocked near Mounts Road in Pierce County due to derailed train car. Avoid area! pic.twitter.com/SBH7dCc6yg— WSDOT Tacoma Traffic (@wsdot_tacoma) December 18, 2017
Several motorists in vehicles that were struck by the fallen train cars suffered injuries, but there were no fatalities among people in those vehicles, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office said.
All southbound lanes of the interstate are closed due to the derailment and the sight stunned motorists heading to work. The incident took place near DuPont, between Tacoma and Olympia.
The Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted a photo of the derailment, urging motorists to avoid the area.
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."
Passenger Chris Karnes described the situation.
"We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve," Karnes said. "All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we're being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there's water gushing out of the train. People were screaming."
"The tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds," he added. "I'm not sure what happened at this juncture."
"I was traveling to work this morning along I-5 and we came to a sudden stop," Greg Mukai told CNN by phone. "We all tried to stop quickly to avoid running into each other to be honest. Once we all came to a stop I was able to look up and see, unfortunately, this scary thing of ... a train hanging off of the overpass. Lots of military personnel and people ran to try to help the best they could."
WSP diverting traffic at DuPont. WSP aiding withbroad closure & getting assistance to scene. pic.twitter.com/fRw4uGNIVv— Trooper Brooke Bova (@wspd1pio) December 18, 2017
A photo taken by a Washington state trooper showed one car of the train smashed upside down on the highway and another hanging off the bridge above it.
Authorities say 75 people were on board the train when it derailed.
Danae Orlob told CNN there was a semi and a crushed truck underneath the train cars.
"We came around the corner and it had to have just happened... there were no police there yet. There was one link of the train off to one side and the other on the other side of the freeway. There were crushed cars underneath. There was an insane amount of fire trucks and ambulances heading towards us."0comments
Amtrak said it is aware of the incident involving the 501 train, which travels from Seattle to Portland, Oregon.
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."