Amtrak train collides with CSX freight train, killing 2 and injuring 70

Posted at 6:49 AM, Feb 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-04 12:51:27-05

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. -- At least two people died and 70 were injured when an Amtrak train collided with a freight train and derailed early Sunday in South Carolina.

The two people who died were aboard the Amtrak train, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher confirmed.

Amtrak Train 91, operating between New York and Miami, was involved in the crash with a CSX freight train about 2:35 a.m. in Cayce, South Carolina. The lead engine and some passenger cars derailed, Amtrak said in a statement.

Eight crew members and about 139 passengers were aboard. Injuries range from small scratches and bumps to broken bones. Palmetto Health spokeswoman Tammie Epps said 62 passengers were seen at three of its hospitals. Two of those passengers were admitted. The others appeared to have minor injuries that would not require hospitalization.

About 5,000 gallons of fuel spilled, but officials said there was no danger to the public.

The crash happened near a stretch of tracks by a rail yard about 10 miles south of Columbia, where several track spurs split off for freight cars to be unloaded. Authorities said they haven't determined if both trains were moving or if the Amtrak train was diverted on to a side track. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

The people who weren't hurt were taken in patrol cars to a shelter, Lexington County Sheriff's spokesman Adam Myrick said.

"We know they are shaken up quite a bit. We know this is like nothing else they have ever been through. So we wanted to get them out of the cold, get them out of the weather -- get them to a warm place," Myrick said.

Amtrak set up a passenger information line at 1-800-523-9101.

Amtrak's full statement:

"Amtrak Train 91, operating between New York and Miami, came in contact with a CSX freight train at around 2:35 am in Cayce, South Carolina. The lead engine derailed, as well as some passenger cars. There were 8 crew members and approximately 139 passengers, with injuries reported. Local authorities are on the scene responding. More information will be provided as available."

This is the latest incident involving an Amtrak train in the past few weeks.

In December, an Amtrak train derailed near DuPont in Washington state and hurtled off an overpass onto Interstate 5, killing three people and injuring dozens. The Amtrak engineer on that train told investigators he mistook a signal and braked moments before the deadly crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Last week, an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a truck near Charlottesville, Virginia. Investigators looking into the crash are focusing on the actions of the driver of a truck, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

Check back for updates on this developing story.