Missouri Amtrak derailment: train with 243 passengers runs off track; reported injuries
Woods said she did not know how many passengers were injured or the extent of the injuries. The accident happened about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City, Mo.
Eight cars and two locomotives from the Southwest Chief train derailed, Amtrak said.
“Local authorities are currently assisting customers and we have deployed Amtrak resources to assist them,” Woods said in a statement.
Eight medical transport helicopters responded to the scene, said Matt Daugherty, director of business development at Lifeflight Eagle Air Ambulance, based in Kansas City, Mo. He said the helicopters were transporting patients to trauma centers in Kansas City and Columbia, Mo.
“They have a massive casualty response plan in place,” Daugherty said.
A fire department dispatcher near Salisbury, Mo., said agencies from four counties responded to the scene.
Dax McDonald, a software engineer from Phoenix, said he was riding in the second-to-last car when he heard a huge bang and tipped forward.
“It’s horrifying,” he said. “The real madness happened a second after that. You could see it was starting to rock.”
The train tipped onto its right side, throwing passengers, including her two sisters, in its direction.
“I basically watched to see them rushing towards me,” he said.
Amid the shattered glass and gravel of the tracks, he said he and others helped a woman who was having a seizure after hitting her head, one of several serious injuries reported on the train. McDonald and his sister began trying to climb through the windows of the train above them.
“It turns into a giant trap. You have to be able to climb, like rock climbing,” he said.
Her mother, who had joined the three siblings on what was supposed to be a cross-country trip from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Fort Madison, Iowa, for a family July 4 celebration, was in the bathroom with the train overturned on its side. She had to climb on suitcases to get out.
McDonald’s sister was taken to hospital to be checked for a concussion, and other injured passengers on stretchers were taken to high school, he said.
McDonald said he remembered seeing two trucks through the windows on the right side of the train. He said he remembered thinking of one of the truck drivers, “That guy better slow down.”
It was McDonald’s idea to take the train. With rising fuel prices, it was cheaper than flying, and he said he thought it would be a chance to spend time with family. It had been, things had come to a terrifying end.
“I thought it would be very safe. It’s a train,” he said. “Now I don’t think I’ll ever take the train again.”
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, tweeted that he was closely monitoring the response to the derailment.
The derailment comes less than a year after an Amtrak train ran off the tracks in rural Montana in an incident that killed three people and injured 44 others.
NTSB investigates fatal Amtrak derailment in rural Montana; three victims identified
The Empire Builder train traveling from Chicago to Seattle derailed on September 25. Eight of the 10 cars — with 154 people on board — derailed around 4 p.m. local time near Joplin, about 200 miles north of Helena, Mt.
This incident occurred less than four years after an Amtrak derailment in Washington state that killed three passengers and injured 65 others.
Amtrak said it sent rescuers to help passengers and employees. The railroad said friends and family members can call 1-800-523-9101 to check on friends and family members on the train.