A fourth person has died after an Amtrak train crashed into a dump truck and derailed Monday afternoon in rural Missouri, injuring 150 people, authorities said Tuesday.
Three of those killed were train passengers, and one died at hospital in Columbus, said Missouri State Highway Patrol in a statement Tuesday. Amtrak said the driver of the dump truck also died.
The crash happened at 12:42 pm in Mendon, Missouri, about 84 miles northeast of Kansas City. Amtrak said about 275 passengers and 12 crew members were aboard a train en route to Chicago from Los Angeles when it hit a dump truck.
Seven of eight cars on the Amtrak Southwest Chief train came off the tracks, said Cpl. Justin Dunn, spokesperson for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Law enforcement and Amtrak officials took 150 people to 10 hospitals on Monday with injuries ranging from minor to serious, according to the highway patrol.
National Transportation Safety Board officials arrived in rural Missouri on Tuesday to investigate the derailment. incident follows another Amtrak train crash Sunday in northern California where three people died.
Here’s what we know:
How did the train derail?
The crash and derailment happened on a gravel road in Chariton County, southwest of Mendon, at an “uncontrolled intersection” with no traffic lights or electronic controls, said Lt. Eric Brown of the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Monday.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday it was too early to speculate on why the truck was on the tracks at an intersection.
Mike Spencer, a farmer working near the crash site, said the dump truck driver was hauling rock for a levy on a local creek for an ongoing project. The crossing is known to locals as dangerous, particularly for people driving slow farm equipment, he said.
Passengers recount moment of crash
Officials responding to the scene found train cars were tossed on their sides and passengers were left scrambling to find an exit.
“All of a sudden, the car that we were on was over, and everyone was flying everywhere, seats were coming apart, bags were going everywhere,” Amtrak passenger Jason Drinkard, who boarded the train at Kansas City’s Union Station, told KMBC News.
Passenger Rob Nightingale was falling asleep in his compartment when he was shaken awake as the train car tipped, pushing his window into the ground, he told the Associated Press. Nightingale, who was uninjured, and other passengers climbed out of the toppled-over car and through another window to safety.
“It was all over the tracks,” Nightingale reported seeing of the wreckage as he exited the train.
Among the passengers were 16 children and eight adults from two Boy Scout troops heading to Wisconsin, said Scott Armstrong, director of national media relations for the Boy Scouts of America. Nobody in the groups was seriously harmed.
NTSB investigating the crash
The National Transportation Safety Board states 14-member go-team to the site Tuesday.
NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said trains won’t be able to use the track for “a matter of days” as investigators gather evidence.
Brown said Monday marked the start of a lengthier investigation into Amtrak’s latest derailment. “We have a lot more information we are seeking and need to obtain,” he said at a press conference.
Second Amtrak crash in 2 days
This was the second fatal Amtrak crash in recent days. On Sunday, an Amtrak commuter train in Brentwood, California, struck a vehicle at an unmarked crossing. Three people inside the car were killed and three others were injured, California Highway Patrol reported.
In September, three people died when an Amtrak train derailed in north-central Montananear Joplin, on its journey between Seattle and Chicago.
CALIFORNIA CRASH:At least 3 dead after Amtrak train collides with car
Contributing: The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism