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At least three people were killed and nearly 100 injured when Amtrak train derailed and fell partially off a bridge, striking several cars on a busy interstate near Olympia, Washington on Monday morning.
The train fell on to Interstate 5, and motorists were injured but not killed, according to Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer. Area hospitals and a nearby Army medical center treated 97 victims from the accident, including four in critical condition. The traffic jam caused by the accident forced ambulances to take many patients to Tacoma instead of Olympia.
Thirteen of the train’s 14 cars derailed, and the incident involved five vehicles in addition to two semi-trailer trucks, according to Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova. There were 78 passengers and five crew members on board.
Authorities are treating it as a “mass-casualty event,” according to KIRO News.
Amtrak identified the train as a southbound Train No. 501. It was reportedly on its inaugural run and was headed to Portland from Seattle, which it left around 6:00am. It had left its stop in a new station in Tacoma before it derailed around 7:45am PT near Lacey. Twitter user @Gregor_WA captured the scene on video and shared it on his account:
Images of the accident showed train cars hanging off the bridge onto I-5, which was closed off to traffic in both directions. Traffic on both sides was backed up at least three miles, according to the Seattle Times.
Amtrak said train traffic from Seattle to Portland was affected.
The No. 501 run was Amtrak’s first use of a new bypass route that cost $181 million and began construction in 2010, meant to shave off about 10 minutes from the length of the Seattle-Portland trip. The new route allowed trains to reach speeds of up to 79 mph.
This is a developing story — stay tuned to TPG for updates.
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