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domingo, 4 de febrero de 2018

Amtrak crash kills 2, injures more than 100 in South Carolina

At least two people were killed and more than 100 reported injured after an Amtrak passenger train collided with a parked CSX freight train carrying diesel fuel early Sunday morning.

Amtrak employees Michael Kempf, a 54-year-old engineer, and Michael Cella, a 36-year-old conductor, were killed in the crash, which occured in Cayce, South Carolina, about 10 miles south of Columbia. The train was traveling from New York to Miami.

Several others reportedly remain in critical condition.


Wide range of injuries

Local hospitals took in over 100 patients from the crash, according to Fox News, most of which have reportedly already been discharged, having suffered only from minor injuries.

“We have anywhere from scratches and bumps to more severe broken bones,” Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill told reporters.

A hospital that is part of the Palmetto Health network said they took in 62 patients from the collision, most of which have been discharged.

“The thoughts of all our team members are with the family and friends of those injured in this accident,” Palmetto Health spokesperson Tammie Epps said. “Palmetto Health is coordinating with local authorities, Amtrak and the American Red Cross to assist these families in any way possible.”

Watch the full report from Fox News:

Official responses

Personnel from the National Transportation Safety Board and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCMED) are working the scene. Fox News reported:

Amtrak said in a statement the train’s lead engine derailed, as did some passenger cars that [were] carrying eight crew members and approximately 139 passengers on board. TV footage from the crash scene showed the aftermath of the collision, with the Amtrak engine on its side and its front crumpled.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters that a total of 116 people have been transported to area hospitals for treatment. He also asked that those injured be kept in everyone’s prayers. He tweeted:

McMaster also said that the engine of the Amtrak train, which was reportedly traveling at 59 mph when it met the freight train, was “barely recognizable.”

“It appears to me that the CSX train was on the track it was supposed to be on. It appears Amtrak was on the wrong track. That’s what it appears to me,” McMaster said. “Two trains, that’s as forceful as can get.”

More response

Amtrak has also released their own statement, which seems to place the blame for the collision on CSX.

“CSX owns and controls the Columbia Subdivision where the accident occurred,” read an Amtrak statement. “CSX maintains all of the tracks and signal systems. CSX controls the dispatching of all trains, including directing the signal systems which control the access to sidings and yards.”

Amtrak has also tweeted regular updates, and provided a contact number for those with questions.

President Donald Trump also weighed in on the tragedy, tweeting:

Fuel spill

In addition to the human toll, an estimated 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled at the scene because of the crash, according to SCMED Public Information Officer Derrec Becker.

“There is no danger to anyone in the nearby area of Lexington County,” Becker told Fox & Friends Weekend.

Lexington County Sheriff’s spokesman Adam Myrick said rescue workers’ priorities remain with those who were hurt:

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.

This is the third crash of an Amtrak passenger train since December.