At Least 6 Dead In Amtrak Crash As Service Between New York & Philadelphia Is Suspended

At least six people are dead after an Amtrak train bound for New York derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday night, overturning several of the train cars and sending the engine catapulting off the track. Officials said at least 140 passengers on the 235-passenger train were injured, and that death toll may rise as first response teams continue the search for survivors. Now, federal investigators are on the scene to determine the cause of the fatal crash, which occurred on the busiest Amtrak route in America. (Update: The death toll has been updated to 7 people.)

According to NBC News, eight people are currently in critical condition after the Northeast Regional 188 train derailed as it traveled from Washington, D.C., to New York Penn Station. Witnesses told NBC News that the train sped off the track as it went into a curve.

"Chairs inside the train became unscrewed and suitcases were falling on people," passenger Max Helfman told NBC News. "My mother flew into me and I literally had to catch her. People were bleeding from their head. It was awful."

The cause of the derailment remains unknown — and federal investigators are now left with the task to fill in the blanks. As they arrived on the scene early on Wednesday, not all of the passengers and crew on the train had been accounted for, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told reporters.

The mayor added:

It is a devastating scene down there. We walked the entire length of the train area, and the engine completely separated from the rest of the train, and one of the cars is perpendicular to the rest of the cars. It's unbelievable.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life from Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188," Amtrak said in a statement released early Wednesday morning. The company said it has established a "Family Assistance Center" for family and friends of the passengers and urges relatives to call the Amtrak Incident Hotline for more information and assistance.

"Local emergency responders are on the scene and an investigation is ongoing," Amtrak added.

Amtrak has suspended service between New York and Philadelphia on Wednesday. However, service between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston will continue, the company said. NJ Transit will accommodate passengers who purchased Amtrak tickets between New York City and Trenton.

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