An Amtrak train went off the track over an interstate near Tacoma, Wash., Monday morning, causing traffic delays.
Several injuries and multiple fatalities have been reported, but the details are unclear. Police and emergency crews responded to the scene, but Interstate 5 and Amtrak service has been severely delayed, the Seattle Times reports.
The Washington Department of Transportation tweeted that drivers should “avoid the area.”
All SB lanes of I-5 blocked near Mounts Road in Pierce County due to derailed train car. Avoid area! pic.twitter.com/SBH7dCc6yg
— WSDOT Tacoma Traffic (@wsdot_tacoma) December 18, 2017
The train was making its inaugural voyage of a new line to Portland, departing from Seattle at 6 a.m. local time. The passage the train was on was created to bypass curves for which passenger trains had to slow down, and also avoids “singletrack tunnels” on the BNSF Railway, according to Amtrak.
There were approximately 78 passengers on board the train and five crew members, Amtrak said in a statement. “Initial reports are that some injuries are reported to passengers and crew, and taken to local medical facilities for treatment,” the statement said.
“We don’t have any information at the moment, we’re gathering it,” Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Seattle Times.
Amtrak said that it is aware of an incident with Train 501, and that “Emergency services are on the scene and Amtrak management is responding.”
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) December 18, 2017
The Pierce County Sheriff’s office said that “injuries and causalities” had been reported, and tweeted there were “Multiple motorists injured on roadway, no fatalities of motorists reported.” Sheriff’s office spokesman Ed Troyer said there were “multiple fatalities” in the crash.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with additional information from Amtrak and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
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