Several Dead, Dozens Injured After Amtrak Train Derails Near Seattle

Several people have died and dozens more are injured after an Amtrak train derailed in the United States near Seattle, Washington.

The train was making the inaugural run along a faster route from Seattle to Portland when it hurtled off an overpass near Tacoma, spilling some of its cars onto the highway below.

78 passengers and five crew members were onboard when Train 501 derailed at speeds of more than 128 km/h.

As of one hour ago, the Associated Press reported that six people died in the accident – with the death toll expected to rise – but these numbers are being disputed by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

Image: AP / KOMO-TV.

Preliminary signs indicate the train may have struck something before going off the track, but no official statement has yet been made.

Washington State Patrol confirmed that 13 train cars jumped the track when it derailed, hitting five motor vehicles and two semi-trailers on the freeway below.

No fatalities of motorists were reported. A spokesperson for the local sheriff’s office said that the deaths “are all contained to the train. It’s pretty horrific.”

One passenger told CNN that “we were catapulted into the seats in front of us.”

Authorities have released the audio of the frantic transmissions between the the train conductor and the dispatcher.

“Amtrak 501, emergency, emergency, emergency,” the employee can be heard yelling. “We are on the ground! We are on the bridge [inaudible] on the freeway. We need EMS [emergency medical services] ASAP. It looks like they’re already starting to show up.”

CNN reports that 77 people have been transported to local hospitals.