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Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia; 'disastrous mess' leaves 6 dead, dozens hurt

At least six people were killed and dozens injured Tuesday night when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, with several cars flipping upside down or tipping onto their sides, officials said. Temple University Hospital's Dr. Herbert Cushing announced the death of the sixth person there overnight from a chest injury.

144 people were taken to hospitals, six of them in critical condition, a Philadelphia Fire Department spokesman told reporters.

The scene “is an absolute disastrous mess,” Mayor Michael Nutter said at a news conference. “It is a devastating scene down there.... The engine completely separated from the train” and one car was perpendicular to the rest, he said.

About 238 passengers and five crew members were on board Northeast Regional train 188, which had been heading from Washington to New York City when it derailed, according to Amtrak.

Most people got out of the train on their own, but rescuers are still searching for others, officials said.

"We do not know what happened here. We do not know why this happened," Nutter said.

The track does curve in the area the train derailed, but "we have no idea what kind of speed we are talking about or what else occurred out there," Nutter said.

At a news conference around 1 a.m., Nutter said he could not confirm whether all people aboard the train had been accounted for.

“The front of the train is really mangled,” AP employee Paul Cheung, who was on the train, told his employer. “It's a complete wreck. The whole thing is like a pile of metal.”

After the derailment, Amtrak suspended all service between New York and Philadelphia.

Patrick Murphy, who hosts MSNBC’s “Taking the Hill” and served in Congress from 2007 to 2011, said he was on the train. He posted dramatic photos on Twitter showing injured passengers and rescue workers.

Video apparently taken by another passenger shows people attempting to move in one of the damaged cars.

“I got you, OK,” one man says. “Keep crawling.”

“Where am I crawling to?” asks another man.

“Crawl forward, sir,” a third man replies.

My train crashed

A video posted by Yameen Allworld "Holladay" (@yameenallworld) on

Cheung told the AP that the train had “started to decelerate, like someone had slammed the brake.”

“Then suddenly you could see everything starting to shake,” he said. “You could see people's stuff flying over me.”

Cheung said he escaped from the back of his car. Some cars were tipped on their sides, and passengers tried to exit through the windows, he said.

Video from the scene showed some passengers being carried away in stretchers. Officials said about 120 emergency responders were there.

Gov. Tom Wolf was on the scene around 1 a.m., but said he had yet to tour the area.

"Anything the state can do to help, we stand ready to do that," Wolf said.

A National Transportation Safety Board team will arrive in the morning to investigate the derailment, the agency said.

For more news, follow @TheRyanParker and @raablauren on Twitter.

UPDATES

4:40 a.m. This post has been updated with information from Temple University Hospital's Dr. Herbert Cushing saying a person died there overnight from a chest injury.

10:28 p.m. This post has been updated with a comment from Gov. Wolf and more information about the scene.

9:24 p.m.: This post has been updated to add more information from the news conference.

9:05 p.m.: This post has been updated to add more information from the news conference.

8:53 p.m.: This post has been updated to add information from a news conference.

8:34 p.m.: This post has been updated to add the number of passengers and crew members aboard the train.

8:29 p.m.: This post has been updated to add quotes from Paul Cheung, information about the NTSB investigation and details about the scene.

8:17 p.m.: This post has been updated to add Amtrak's suspension of service.

8:04 p.m.: This post has been updated to add that the train was going into a turn.

The first version of this post was published at 7:36 p.m.

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