Dead, At Least 70 injured After Amtrak Train and Freight Train Collide

Michele Moreno
February 5, 2018

The CSX train was stationary and appeared to be on the correct track, Gov. Henry McMaster said at a news conference Sunday.

Dr. Steve Shelton, the director for emergency preparedness at Palmetto Health system, said at a news conference this morning they had received 62 patients across its three facilities.

Passenger Derek Pettaway told CBS News that he was sleeping when the train began "shaking violently" before coming to a sudden halt.

Amtrak officials gathered up luggage and other belongings and within hours put passengers aboard buses to their destinations.

Lexington Medical Center spokesperson Jennifer Wilson confirmed that they treated 27 patients with minor injuries, and all but two have been released. CSX owns and controls the Columbia Subdivision where the accident occurred.

In December, three people were killed when an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Washington state.

Amtrak engineer, Michael Kempf, 54, and conductor Michael Cella, 36, were killed in the incident, reported Margaret Fisher, the Lexington County Coroner. Their injuries went from minor scratches to broken bones.

The lead engine and several passenger carriages of Amtrak Train 91, which was operating from NY to Miami, derailed after coming "in contact" with the freight train, Amtrak said in an emailed statement.

The number of injured rose to 116 from a previous count of 70, said Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill.

He described the freight train engines as "all torn up", and the Amtrak engine as "barely recognizable" from the impact.

Sumwalt said the switch was supposed to allow the Amtrak train to continue traveling in a roughly a straight line.

Amtrak President Richard Anderson pointed the finger at CSX, saying the signal system along that stretch is run by the freight railroad but was down at the time of the wreck, forcing CSX dispatchers to route trains manually.

- June 23, 2014: An Amtrak train hit a vehicle that was apparently driving on train tracks in MA, killing three people in the vehicle and derailing the train just before midnight in a remote area about 24 miles southwest of Boston.

"SC is with you all!" tweeted Tim Scott, one of the state's two U.S. senators.

"We are cooperating fully with the NTSB, which is leading the investigation, as well as working with FRA and CSX", Amtrak said. Officials are estimating about 5,000 gallons of fuel has spilled.

It was the second major crash for Amtrak in less than a week.

It came just days after an Amtrak train carrying several dozen Republican lawmakers including House Speaker Paul Ryan hit a garbage truck in Virginia, killing one person and causing six others, including a congressman, to require hospital treatment.

This is a developing story; check back for more updates.

Other reports by Insurance News

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