Latest: At least six dead, 50 injured, after train derails during first run on faster route in US

Update - 10.04pm: Hospital officials said of those injured at least two were in a critical condition and 11 others were seriously injured.

Four hospitals said 50 people were being treated for their injuries.

Authorities said a total of 13 train cars had derailed.

Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said five vehicles and two semi-trailers underneath the train on I-5 were hit when the cars came off the tracks from above.

Update 7.43pm: The death toll is expected to rise after a train making the first run along a faster route hurtled off an overpass in the US and spilled some of its carriages on to the road below, killing at least six people, authorities said.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the Amtrak train travelling at more than 80mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.

An official briefed on the investigation said preliminary signs indicated that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track.

This photo provided by Washington State Patrol shows an Amtrak train that derailed south of Seattle. Washington State Patrol via AP

Pierce County Sheriff's Office said several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train carriages and multiple motorists were injured. No motorists were reported killed.

Chris Karnes was on the train, three or four carriages from the front. He said the only part of the train remaining on the tracks was the rear locomotive. Several cars were hanging over the overpass.

The possibility that the wreck was caused by something on the tracks fed into concerns voiced by local officials about the risk of high-speed trains crossing busy streets. The mayor of a town near the derailment had warned about the danger of an accident at a public meeting two weeks ago.

Daniel Konzelman, 24, was driving parallel to the train on his way to work in Olympia. He was about 30 seconds ahead of the train on the freeway when he saw it derail.

Mr Konzelman, who was driving with a friend, said he pulled off the freeway and ran down along the tracks and over the bridge to get to the scene.

They saw three cars and a truck on the freeway that had been damaged by the derailment. There were train carriages with their roofs ripped off, or that were tipped upside down, on both sides of the track or turned sideways on the bridge.

They climbed into train carriages and found people hurt - some pinned underneath the train, others who appeared to be dead, he said. If they were mobile and seemed stable, he helped them climb out. If they appeared seriously hurt, he tried to comfort them by talking to them.

"I just wanted to help people because I would want people to help me," he said. "I'm an Eagle Scout. I have a lot of first-aid training and emergency response training."

"I prepared for the worst and hoped for the best. I saw a little bit of both," he said.

Donald Trump used the derailment to call for more infrastructure spending in a tweet sent about three hours after the accident.

He said the wreck, on a newly completed bypass, shows "more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly".

The train was making the inaugural run on the new route as part of a 180 million dollar (£134 million) project designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound which is bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.

The new route includes a bypass built on an existing inland rail line that runs along Interstate 5 from Tacoma to DuPont, near where Train 501 derailed.

Track testing was completed in January and February, according to Washington State Department of Transportation.

The mayor of Lakewood, a city along the new route, predicted a deadly crash - but one involving a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a crossing. At a recent public meeting, he called on state planners to build overpass-like rail structures instead of having trains cross busy streets.

"Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements," Don Anderson said, according to Seattle television station KOMO.

"Or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens."

The National Transportation Safety Board said a team of investigators was on its way to the scene from Washington DC.

The train was going 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.

The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79mph, according to information about the project posted online by Washington State Department of Transportation.

AP

Update 7.13pm: Donald Trump offers 'thoughts and prayers'

President Donald Trump offered "thoughts and prayers" for those involved in the train derailment.

He thanked emergency services for their work at the scene.

Update 6.47pm: ‘At least six people killed’ after US train derails during first run on new route

At least six people were killed when an Amtrak train making the first run along a new route hurtled off an overpass onto a busy road south of the US city of Seattle, authorities said.

Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train derailed just before 8am, Amtrak said.

None of the fatalities were motorists who were in cars and trucks when the southbound train came off the tracks on a bridge over the Interstate 5 route in Washington state, said Ed Troyer, a spokesman with the Pierce County Sheriff's office.

In a statement, Amtrak said the train that derailed was Train 501 operating from Seattle to Portland.

The train was making an inaugural run on the new route as part of a $180.7million (€153.3m) project designed to speed up the service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that is bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.

It left Seattle around 6am, according to an Amtrak schedule, and was due in Portland about three and a half hours later.

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.

The maximum speed along the stretch of track, known as Point Defiance Bypass, is 79mph, according to information about the project posted online by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it had sent a team of investigators from Washington, DC to the scene of the accident.

A spokesman for Providence St Peter Hospital in Olympia said 11 patients were being treated there.

Chris Thomas said two patients were currently in surgery, one in a serious condition.

An official briefed on the investigation told the Associated Press that preliminary signs indicated the train may have struck something on the track before being derailed.

As the tracks were new it was unlikely to be a maintenance issue, the official added.

Update 5.59pm: ‘Several people killed’ after US train derails onto busy road

Several people have died after an Amtrak passenger train derailed onto a busy road south of the US city of Seattle, authorities said.

Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said none of the fatalities were motorists who were in cars and trucks when the train came off the tracks on a bridge over the Interstate 5 route in Washington state.

He said emergency responders are working to get survivors out of the wreckage and take them to hospital.

The train derailed before 8am (1pm GMT), with several carriages reportedly left hanging off the overpass.

Amtrak said there were approximately 78 passengers and five crew members on board the train.

All southbound lanes of the I-5 road were closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and motorists are being warned to avoid the area.

Chris Karnes, who was on the train but unhurt in the derailment, said: "I'm not sure what got hit. I'm not sure what happened."

Medical tents have been set up in an area between north- and sound-bound I-5, just south of DuPont.

Mr Karnes added: "The only car that is on the tracks is the rear locomotive. There are several cars that are hanging over the overpass."

In a statement, Amtrak said the service that derailed was Train 501, travelling from Seattle to Portland.

"Emergency services are on the scene and Amtrak management is responding. Some injuries are reported," Amtrak said.

Update 5.25pm: Multiple motorists injured after train derails onto busy US road

Multiple motorists were injured after falling train carriages struck vehicles on a busy road south of Seattle after an Amtrak train derailed, Washington state authorities said.

Update 5.16pm: ‘Injuries and casualties’ as train derails onto busy US road

An Amtrak train has derailed south of the US city of Seattle, causing a number of injuries and casualties.

At least one carriage spilled off a bridge on to a busy road during the incident, with several others left hanging from the overpass.

Amtrak train 501 derailed about 40 miles south of the city in Washington state before 8am (1pm GMT).

Pierce County Sheriff's office said in a tweet that the train was heading south and that there were "injuries and casualties".

All southbound lanes of the Interstate 5 route were closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and motorists are being warned to avoid the area.

Chris Karnes was on the train, three or four cars back from the front.

"I'm not sure what got hit. I'm not sure what happened," said Mr Karnes, who was unhurt after the incident.

Medical tents have been set up in an area between north- and sound-bound I-5, just south of DuPont.

"The only car that is on the tracks is the rear locomotive," Mr Karnes added.

"There are several cars that are hanging over the overpass."

In a statement, Amtrak said the train that derailed was Train 501, travelling from Seattle to Portland.

Amtrak said: "Emergency services are on the scene and Amtrak management is responding. Some injuries are reported."

Original story (4.40pm): Amtrak train derails onto busy road in US

An Amtrak train has derailed roughly 40 miles south of the US city of Seattle, spilling carriages onto a busy interstate road and causing "injuries and casualties", authorities said.

The train derailed just before 8am (1pm GMT) just south of Tacoma, Washington.

All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and motorists are being warned to avoid the area.


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