An Amtrak train derailed on Monday during its inaugural run on a faster route from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, sending passenger cars tumbling from a bridge onto a major highway, killing at least three people and injuring more than 70.
Thirteen of the train’s 14 cars jumped the tracks near the town of DuPont, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said. Amtrak said there were 86 aboard, 80 of them passengers.
Five vehicles and two trucks were involved in the accident, and the highway was littered with fragments of the bridge and tree branches. Some motorists were injured but none died, authorities said.
She said all the train cars had been searched. The state patrol has turned over the investigation to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), whose members were on the scene.
One aspect of the situation likely be in focus is the speed at which the train took a curve leading up to the bridge.
Geoff Patrick, a spokesman for Sound Transit, which owns the track, said it had recently been upgraded to handle passenger trains, from its prior use for slow-moving freight trains. The curving stretch of track where the accident took place had a speed limit of 30 miles per hour (48 kph), Patrick said.