An Amtrak train carrying more than 200 passengers derailed today in Lake City, S.C. Officials say the accident may have been caused by a street sweeper that bent the tracks. More than 40 people were taken to area hospitals.
The injuries were “little bumps and bruises” and none were serious, said Highway Patrol First Sgt. Jo Nell.
Nine cars of the southbound Silver Meteor, on its way from New York to Florida, derailed at about 7:30 a.m. near the Lake City Police Department.
“We hear this click-like sound, and then the train shifted. We knew it. We just knew it and we just grabbed onto the table,” said Barbara Clark, 60, of Sanford, Fla., who was drinking coffee in the dining car during the derailment. “We heard the wheels coming off the track. There is a sound it makes; I don’t know how to tell you. It was horrible.”
The National Transportation Safety Board was looking into the cause of the derailment.
At Least 46 Taken to Hospitals
There were 218 passengers and 15 crew members on board, Amtrak said. At least 46 were taken to hospitals for treatment.
Clark injured her ribs and had to be lifted out of the tilted car through a window on a stretcher. She was taken to a hospital for X-rays and then released.
“You have some angels in this town. They gathered here this morning,” she said.
“It kind of shook my house,” said Velvadene Marsh, who lives near the site. “I thought it was a plane, but when I ran out back, I didn’t see anything.”
About 15 minutes earlier, Nell said, a street sweeper had jumped a curb and bent the railroad tracks.
Two sleeping cars, four coach cars, a dining car, a lounge and a crew dorm jumped the tracks, Amtrak said. A wheel of the engine also left the rails. Two other cars did not derail.
Red Cross spokesman Laura Jeffords said at least 185 uninjured people were taken to a shelter.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Lake City and nearby Florence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.