Who Were The Amtrak Train Derailment Victims? Two People Were Killed In The Tragic Crash
A shocking accident occurred Sunday morning when an Amtrak train derailment killed two people as the train travelled between New York City and Savannah, Georgia. The derailment reportedly occurred when the train struck a backhoe that had been left on the tracks in the town of Chester, Pennsylvania. Eyewitness reports indicate that the collision with the backhoe caused an explosion, and the train drove through a fireball before the lead engine derailed from the tracks, bringing the train to an abrupt stop.
NBC affiliate WCAU reported that the two victims were both crew members on board the train and reportedly had more than 40 years of experience between them — however, The New York Times published a statement from Ruth Miller, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, claiming that the victims were not on the train and possibly did not work for Amtrak. “They were on, in, or near the backhoe that was struck,” stated Miller in an email to The Times. “I cannot confirm age, gender, name or employer. I simply don’t have that information at this point.”
No official statement has yet been released from Amtrak about the cause of the victims' deaths or their locations on or off the train at the time of the accident.
Mariam Akhtar, a passenger from Washington, D.C., spoke with ABC affiliate WPVI about the accident."It felt like the train hit something and there were like three or four really big bangs and it kind of threw us off the seats we were sitting in," said Akhtar. "There was a lot of smoke and everybody was yelling. The train kind of stopped and later on, everybody was running to the front. Then the people were in the front started walking toward the back."
At least 30 of the train's 341 passengers were injured in the accident, and one person is seriously injured, according to WPVI, although details on those injuries are not yet available. Local emergency response departments set up a triage center at the nearby Trainer United Methodist Church church to treat the injured, and live reports from the scene show ambulances transporting passengers in the small Pennsylvania town.
Several agencies, including Amtrak's investigative team, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board, will collaborate in the investigation of the accident, according to WCAU. More details on the identities of the victims and the cause of the crash should be forthcoming as the investigation progresses in the next few days.