Deaths reported after major train derailment in Washington State

The southbound lanes of I-5 were blocked near Mounts Road in Pierce county after a train derailed from an overpass on Monday morning Dec. 18 2017

"Let me begin by expressing our deepest sympathies and most heartfelt prayers to the victims of the train derailment in Washington state", Trump said. Nine of the injured are in a serious condition.

"No fatalities on the roadway".

"We moved down to the trains that were more seriously damaged that had flipped upside down, and luckily I had brought a headlamp with me from my vehicle, because the trains were all dark, and there was a lot of wreckage, and some of them were upside down or the roofs were caved in", Konzelman said.

The accident snarled morning rush hour traffic and officials warned that that section of Interstate 5, would be blocked for at least the rest of the day.

Passenger and railway buff Chris Karnes described to the Seattle Times the horror that unfolded on the doomed train.

Seventy-seven passengers and seven crew members were aboard when it derailed, pulling 13 cars from the tracks.

"The next thing we know, we're being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there's water gushing out of the train. People were screaming." Karnes said the tracks were supposed to have been upgraded to accommodate higher speeds. Amtrak posted a number for people to inquire about any friends and family who were on Train 501.




"I knew right away that this was a major accident, that there was probably going to be some pretty, pretty graphic fatalities and injuries, so I prepared myself for the worst going in - and I hoped for the best - and there was both", he said.

Local officials had warned only weeks ago that the track still might not be safe enough to handle trains at higher speeds. The trains were expected to reach speeds of 79 miles (127 kilometers) per hour through the densely populated area with the improved systems and track.

Local sources reported that Don Anderson, mayor of the nearby town of Lakewood, opposed the new route because of what he called insufficient safety measures.

"Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens", Anderson said, according to a local ABC affiliate.

The new train cars were to be pulled by new Siemens Charger locomotives that include an "on-board positive train controls system", created to automatically stop the train in risky situations and mandated for trains around the country.

The train was going at a speed of 81.1mph moments before the derailment, according to transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad's train tracker app.

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