At Least Two Dead, Dozens Injured In South Carolina Amtrak Crash
CAYCE, S.C. (CBS NEWS) — At least two people were killed and more than 100 others were injured when a train traveling from New York to Miami struck a freight train Sunday morning, authorities said. The crash left thousands of gallons of oil spilled at the scene.
The two people killed were later identified as Amtrak personnel, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said in a news conference Sunday.
Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill said the trains collided in Cayce around 2:45 a.m. Sunday. Cahill couldn’t say if the two people killed were on the passenger train or the freight train. He said the injuries ranged from scratches to broken bones.
Amtrak said the lead engine and a few passenger cars derailed on Amtrak 91. The crash happened near a stretch of tracks by a rail yard about 10 miles south of Columbia, where several track spurs split off for freight cars to be unloaded. Authorities said they haven’t determined if both trains were moving or if the Amtrak train was diverted on to a side track.
Passenger Derek Pettaway told CBS News that he was sleeping when the train began “shaking violently” before coming to a sudden halt. “You knew we’d hit something or we’d derailed,” he said over the phone. “The Amtrak crew was very great and got everyone off the train within.”
“More people were shocked than shaken from the crash,” Pettaway said from the local Red Cross shelter where other train passengers were being transported.
Eight crew members were on board the Amtrak train, along with approximately 139 passengers. A phone line has been set up for people who have inquiries about passengers, at 800-523-9101.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it was traveling to the scene to investigate the crash.
President Trump has been briefed on the crash and is receiving regular updates, Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters said Sunday morning. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident,” Walters said in a statement. Mr. Trump is currently at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In an early morning press conference, local authorities said that 5,000 gallons of fuel had spilled in the crash, but that hazmat teams had been dispatched and the fuel was thought not to be a danger to the public.
The crash comes several days after an Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress. One of the truck’s passengers was killed in the collision.
This is a developing story and will be updated.