At least three people are dead and dozens more were injured after an Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago struck a dump truck and derailed in rural Missouri Monday, authorities said, the second major incident in two days for the passenger railroad service.
Several cars of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief train came off the tracks after colliding with a dump truck at 12:42 pm in Mendon, Missouri, about three hours northwest of St. Louis, Amtrak announced in a statement. Seven of the train’s eight cars derailed, said Cpl. Justin Dunn, public information officer at Missouri State Highway Patrol, at a Monday news conference.
Dunn confirmed that two people died on the train and one died in the truck.
There were “early reports of injuries” among passengers, Amtrak said, but the extent of the injuries wasn’t immediately known
Lt. Eric Brown of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said he had “no idea on the number of injured at this point,” but hospitals reported receiving more than 40 patients from the crash and were expecting more.
The crash occurred at an “uncontrolled intersection” on a gravel road without lights or electronic controls, Brown told reporters. “A lot of your rural intersections are that way,” he said.
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The National Transportation Safety Board said monday that it was launching a 14-member go-team to investigate Monday’s derailment.
It’s too early to speculate on why the truck was on the tracks, said National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy. A team of NTSB investigators will arrive Tuesday, she said. Trains won’t run be able to run on the track for “a matter of days” while they gather evidence, she added.
Helicopter video of the site from KMBC-TV in Kansas City showed rail cars on their side as emergency responders used ladders to climb into one of them. Six medical helicopters parked nearby were waiting to transport patients.
Close to 20 local and state law enforcement agencies, ambulance services, fire department and medical hopitical services responded, Dunn said.
Passengers on the train included 16 youths and eight adults from two Boy Scout troops who were traveling home to Appleton, Wisconsin, after a backcountry excursion at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, but no one in the group was seriously injured, said Scott Armstrong , director of national media relations for the Boy Scouts of America. The Scouts administered first aid to several injured passengers, including the driver of the dump truck, Armstrong said.
High school students from Pleasant Ridge High School in Easton, Kansas, who were headed to a Future Business Leaders of America conference in Chicago, were also aboard, Superintendent Tim Beying told The Kansas City Star.
The accident comes one day after a deadly crash in Brentwood, California, where an Amtrak commuter train slammed into a vehicle at an unmarked crossing. Three people inside the vehicle were killed and three others injured, but none of the 80 Amtrak passengers were injured, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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