'At least six people killed' after Amtrak train derails near Seattle

The southbound lanes of I-5 were blocked near Mounts Road in Pierce county after a train derailed from an overpass on Monday morning Dec. 18 2017

The southbound lanes of I-5 were blocked near Mounts Road in Pierce county after a train derailed from an overpass on Monday morning Dec. 18 2017

AT LEAST six people were reported to have died and 77 were injured yesterday when a train derailed on a bridge in the United States, sending carriages crashing down on to a highway.

Dozens of people were reportedly taken to area hospitals for treatment, with several said to be in serious condition.

Amtrak Cascades train 501 was taking its inaugural run down a new route today outside of Tacoma, Washington.

It was not immediately clear what has caused the incident, which occurred around 7:30 a.m. (1530 UTC) local time, although one official later said that track obstruction was a possible reason.

"No fatalities on the roadway".

The service was supposed to be rated for a maximum speed of 79 miles per hour for the section where it derailed in DuPont, according to passenger Chris Karnes.

Seventy-seven passengers and seven crew members were aboard when it derailed, pulling 13 cars from the tracks.

'Next thing, we're being slammed into the front of our seats.' People kicked out windows to escape, he said.

"The tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds", he continued.

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"I shot this video on board the #Amtrak501 in the 6 o clock hour this morning", Alex Rozier said on Twitter.

He said he and Hoverson climbed inside the trains and moved wreckage out of the way to find passengers who might be stuck inside. The locomotive and several of the train's passenger cars landed on the interstate.

Local officials had warned only weeks ago that the track still might not be safe enough to handle trains at higher speeds.

Local sources reported that Don Anderson, mayor of the nearby town of Lakewood, opposed the new route because of what he called insufficient safety measures.

"Come back when there is that accident and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens", he told local outlet KOMO news earlier in December.

The new train cars were to be pulled by new Siemens Charger locomotives that include an "on-board positive train controls system", created to automatically stop the train in unsafe situations and mandated for trains around the country.

Before his "America First" national security speech on Monday, President Donald Trump addressed the Amtrak train derailment in Washington state, saying the tragedy reinforces the need for a new infrastructure plan.

At the height of the morning commute Monday, an Amtrak passenger train jumped its tracks and spilled off an overpass in Washington state.

At the time, analysts said positive train control technology could have prevented the accident.

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