Amtrak train derails in Washington state

An Amtrak train derailed in Washington state this morning, leaving at least one of the cars dangling from an overpass over a highway, officials said.
19:06 | 12/18/17

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Transcript for Amtrak train derails in Washington state
This is an ABC news special. George Stephanopoulos. Good morning we are coming on here because there's been a major train derailment south of Seattle about forty miles south of Seattle Amtrak. Trained 501 derailed in Washington State you see that car right there. It is T rail right onto the interstate five the main artery. Connecting California to Washington State traffic has been stopped in both directions this is a major incident one of a street. Tore score correspondent Matt Gutman on the phone that would we now. They George we know that seems to be a significant incident as you mentioned local Philly chilling. And numerous ambulances and medical personnel rushing to the team. As you mention five continues to be shut down certainly in the southbound lane and the images we see of this. Train cars diesel oil the hanging dangling over this bridge. And certainly concerning other pierce county sheriff says. They are expected to be that there are multiple. Many personnel their flight attendant to the wounded there are casualties. In addition to that picture we she of that one card dangling over. The overpass there are other cars that appear to be do you rail. Unclear where the injuries all or George or its significance of these casualties at this event. There are serving five people on the car we are told don't want our transportation correspondent David Curley as well David this was the inaugural run. Of Amtrak 501. Services of very popular route George along the third quarter basically I five and am kind of run that north south route between Vancouver Seattle and Portland. A lot of traffic in this area and it's unclear this is supposedly a new locomotives. I'm not sure that the inaugural trip George. And it's clear at this point whether this strain potentially be real by itself. Or did it it's something that we've seen crashing like that in the past where at a crossing. But traders run into a truck or vehicle crossing. Back crossing we've also seen speed the and it do. In the Philadelphia accident so very early to know exactly what has happened but this Amtrak train but. Just see hook horror like that hanging over the bridge under one of the busiest pieces of interstate in the northwest. Is quite from. Traffic now back up three miles in either direction and David as you say this is a major major artery. Yes and ends. Most the traffic in depth Pardo of our country in the northwest. It is north south court or 55 betrayed that are gonna go either all the way down into California. Often to Vancouver BC. This is the lifeline along the West Coast. This was a train that left Seattle around 6 AM apparently the incident happened. Around 801 Matt got an emergency responders reporting to the scene now. Absolutely an enormous numbers Georgian we see them streaming in there ambulance after ambulance they're having to navigate. Through. This massive traffic jam that is built up its already miles long. Well we understand that they are already at the scene. I I assume that they're doing triage but HQ and if invention. Not only UPI five quarter which goes all the way from the border of Mexico and San Diego supporter Janet up. Where the busiest routes but this is where the busiest times right during rush hour traffic. On a busy work day maybe people heading for holiday vacations. So it was the intersection of a major railroad. And the primary. Interstate road route in the northwest. So tremendous number of people. In a conflict of all these people want time so I imagine it's going to be very typical. Or law enforcement and four. A medical personnel to get their Lexington new images coming across now. There you appear to be medical personnel tending to it seemed to be wounded or at least working on some wreckage down on I five's. Working on the debris from where the train seems to be dead and off. The overpass so we see people both above the train tracks. Which is above the ice but interstate and on the interstate itself so this is a significant event. There are dozens of a village is already moving to the scene and many many personnel trying to figure out a what's wrong and then of course and who did as well. And David David Curley several incidents and trains over the past couple of years sometimes operator error sometimes problems. With the equipment speed regulators. Absolutely George and if this is a new trade which could be really interesting at school early to be talking about this always so first responders. On the scene but in the Philadelphia. Derailment that deadly accident because the engineer was driving too fast on occur that derailment and it. Deprivation and how the horrors broke apart. We're lessons learned for Amtrak and or regulators that he. The rail cars that we are traveling in an Amtrak don't always stand up to these high impact accidents. I don't know what kind of cars this train was carrying and enrolling down on the rails. But that's going to be something did we learn our lesson from Philadelphia several years ago have these cars didn't. Improved our they've been new models were still some of the older ones that we saw in Tokyo as well. And did explain what kind of impact this will have and train and train travel. Across the northwest. At this time a year. So it's. It's going to be very very problematic. If it will depend on which damage were done to the rails. Because you you'd be surprised at how quickly these are real workers than real companies can deal with an actual like just. We once again we're still dealing with those who were potentially injured. In these cars but once they clear that scene they'll be public clear that trade out of there pretty quickly if there it's there is not. Serious Dempster the rails the artery could be opened up. Fairly quickly if there is serious damage that's problematic and as most people know when you're traveling on these. Spain's arteries or realize there are often two or three. Can remove some of the track though traffic over but. It's going to be concerned as bad as mentioned this is we're getting to the peak season and you know. Hundreds and thousands of people travel home for the holidays on Amtrak along that course south. And that we see that we see that car just hanging over off the overpass there right on into the highway do we have any idea. The numbers on the overall trained weather. Car slammed in two to any part of the train. It's hard to tell at this point Georgia dear Joseph seemed to be some debris on the roadway and I cannot tell at this point. Whether it is. Local buses that actually looks like one of the real art to actually. Career off the tracks and landed in. BI five roadway. Made appears to be significantly damaged perhaps even having flipped over once it landed and EC up. Medical personnel first responders. Working on bad. This seems to be a very significant fraction and whatever happens to have derail this train I think that it's gonna come second to you first. Figuring out how many people have been hurt. And whisking them off to safety and and you. Institute acrid in the hospital in if that's possible this point. Clearly medical personnel or at bear by the sheriff's is on that they have already set up a a media staging point for their their starting Q create a perimeter and to a controlled situation but. I'm unclear right now how many people have been affected but it certainly seems like this is a mass casualty event torch. And Dave of the National Transportation Safety Board will take the lead on this investigation. They've already told us they are gathering information that undoubtedly there will be launching its team to investigate this and George RRB official statement from Amtrak is that. It is aware of the incident involving train cargo one. It service which was right from Seattle to Portland. It says it has reports of some injuries reported. And it services temporarily suspended all things we've been talking about. But it's its endorsers misstatement may suggest just be. Yet this this'll be it a yearlong investigation but the answers that will come out of this investigation. All aimed at preventing something like this from the happening again. And hidden the answer is we've dealt dealt with most recently have been on the East Coast is the first major one in the West Coast. There are have been some. Also where along the West Coast and some of the year more like metro type regional carriers of some issues as well. Yes the tropics still can considerably say it's safer to get on the trinity is forever undercard. And and Matt Gutman and I haven't seen anything come across our wires to indicate this there is there any sense at all. That there was any on any incident on the train that precipitated this we have any anything like them. We you don't have anything like that at this point George all we can say. It described essentially what we see an end repeat what. Some officials are telling us that they are on the scene. Get dozens of ambulances there it does seem to be if I'm very significant crashing than what the pictures that we are seeing right now is. At least. There that want rail cars dangling off the overpass and other. That has seemed to have crashed beneath it flipped over. There are. First responders there on the scene there are ladders on the top leading to the top of that slipped over rail car. What are the things that distinguishes the East Coast from the West Coast it better in the West Coast there is a little bit less. Rail traffic personnel there's tremendous amount of cargo oil arms. Chemicals that are moved around or transported all else but the East Coast especially that northeast corridor is really where the bulk of people travel. All on rail date today especially on Amtrak. Who did this cascades line. It's something that it's not as frequently travel. But still we have seen that there were many many people on board this strain when it he railed. And again this seems like he's very significant incidents thumb hard to get direct images right now we're just starting to get some of the new images. See here is lined up. A flasher is they are they're intermingled with first responders. Rushing to the scene you can keep it. The cars have moved off to decide to try to create a pathway for first responders to get through. A tremendous amount of traffic again this is I five direct. Rush hour one of the busiest roadways in the district court last a major quarter leading all the way from. The border with Mexico to the border with Canada and they were right here Tacoma Washington and in Seattle also tremendous amount of traffic. When things we can see David Curley on the side of that car understand how the overpasses Amtrak cascades what does that tell you. Be that did this circus this cascades service that runs from Vancouver BC down through Seattle. Portland and then it goes overdue couple other cities in or get it and the Cascade Mountains of course run forced out there and so they run. West side of the cascade mountain Georgia bureau is it's it is way too early to talk about what actually caused this. It ever mentioned earlier this. Could it have been something at a crossing that we're not seeing. Back or forward for bridge overseeing their car heading over. Our five. Or was it something that happened with betraying going too fast forward to something with the rails. And so far federal officials are telling us they have no indication that this could be terrorism belated. But I have to tell you just. A couple of weeks ago we did a story about the fact that in the latest inspire magazine which comes from al-Qaeda. The cover story was suggesting that would be terrorists considered trying to derailed what's against federal authorities say they have no indication of this. But it is something bit local authorities. Federal authorities Amtrak. And in the brick mill people are concerned about and we have a couple 100000 miles. But rail line across this country much of it is unsecured and secured unsecured. And and it's. Bob a problem that they're looking. OK David thanks I want to bring in now Greg Luca live from Washington State on the phone and Greg tell me where you were you drove by about fifty feet. From this. Yep Obama Lloyd aware. And a fifty feet prior to you going under the overpasses that we all everybody on the freeway came to a sudden stop trying to avoid colliding into one another. A Montreal stopped we looked up and realized the train had come off the track so off the overpass on the freeway. Hang in there and lots of folks including a lot of good military personnel ran too try to get help before Auburn to personal arrived. So you didn't see the train come down by the time you saw what had happened the train was down. Larry are we were so focused on not try to run into on another because everybody came to a sudden stop stop sixty down to zero you know. Viable we looked up looked everywhere I was curious what happened. And and could you see if there were passengers on that car that was that was hanging off the bridge. Our lead from where I was no there's no way to beat if anybody would then it honestly if the first time we've ever seen eight passengers. A crane on that extract it runs parallel I five south there. So kind of surprises in the first place you can't see anybody there was nobody come out turning after the F that are so. And you didn't hear anything for before the train came down either. Yeah well you know I didn't eerie how abruptly did this all happened how abruptly did you have to stop. Ohio's it was up slamming on the breaks out we were off slam on the brakes and swerving to the side of the road to try to avoid another. I mean it's wet and it's windy here in Washington today so. It was it was pretty abrupt. And as far as you can tell that were where they did it were there any traffic accidents in addition to what happened. With the train. No no not not from just normal traffic there aren't they trying to stop I think guy everybody you know they they acted pretty well to avoid one another electric that the train did appear Qiyue I'm in contact with some vehicle on the actual freeways. And you said you saw some military responders and other people rush quickly to the scene what exactly were they doing. You know there were folks soon they'll let it got down with you know there their physical morning saying they're on that fire and they were just people of all at home. But Dayton you know they they were grabbing and you can articulate how old clothes and their Harper's big get to try to help. I did my best out of the way and I'm not skilled in that manner and I I would argue pain so. Anything you say they're bringing out all increment did you see any injured on the ground. I mean I didn't see any injured from my bags went leopard got there mab I was you know stuck in traffic. Due to the emergency vehicles you know they were bringing folks out on stretchers and end up back boards to try to transported out of there. C deftly did see did see can pay people who are injured and and didn't may be seriously being taken from the scene. Us and and were you now. It they turn it background and com I'm on my hands free device behaved myself but Albania without bail out at got to their multi fight but needed space. Okay well great thank you very much this is important information we have right there won't go back. To David Curley gave it a one of the things we're learning from the Washington state Department of Transportation is that the train was running down a new bypass. Created to avoid slow curves fit any idea about how fast the train was going. Yes we've it's the neighborhood confirmed that probed by air hurts real time attracting this train. There was tripling it 81 miles an hour witches. Depending on the peace attractive. Is not necessarily. Speeding or going over the limit. So debt. What's going to they generally travel that. It depends on the hunt because these tracts you know we've built distracts. A long time ago and because they do have curves at times you've seen it if you've done yet so on the East Coast they Wear. They're unfit to slow down because of occurs if they have a straight line they can go a bit 809000 miles an hour. Oh auto on us on a fast trade so 81 miles an hour doesn't necessarily. Suggest it was going to test the drug in let me just ask look at what more I think. George you miss the cascades you can see that on the plus side at the Amtrak real art and the coloring in the paint scheme there. Is actually bargaining back and I'm using SOA mare. Full time. Little model trade that those the colors that were used. Ford trained in the Pacific northwest. A hundred years or radioed years ago so this is kind of a throwback. Of this service that runs along the cascades. On the west side between. Portland other organs cities and all the way up today over BC. He has a train running from Seattle Portland lets him around 6 AM Pacific time was scattered derived. In Portland or on 9 AM Pacific time this incident happened we're told right around 8 AM marine Pierre Thomas our senior justice correspondent. I am watching right now appear we know the National Transportation Safety Board is already investigating. Has the as the FBI any other law enforcement authorities in Washington pick up any more information. So far the we have no word the FBI is involved but georgians cases like this is not unusual. When there is no clear cards immediately known for the FBI to assisting NTSB in trying to find out what particularly happen I can tell you because of the level of this kind of event. The federal authorities Homeland Security FBI will be very curious as a no what happened and they will offer support to. Good no indication yet that this is anything other than an accident no indication. That it was terrorism related or or do they deliberately inspired. That is correct George nothing to that and that we report at this point. Who couldn't continue to check what our sources throughout the morning nothing to indicate that but again law enforcement officials will be available to assist if needed. And again we have a major train derailed when you see it right there it happened in Washington State around 801 Pacific time. This morning train train running from Seattle report written Portland Amtrak. 501. And you see that car dangling off the overpass into the highway the I five. Highway traffic backed up in both directions right now we know there are casualties we know there are significant changes being taken from the scene emergency responders on the scene. As well we're gonna track this all day long here at ABC news will be a full report tonight on world news David Muir and you can get breaking news alerts anytime. By downloading the ABC news that. We'll stay on the salt and torso. This has been a special. But he keeps.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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