A Sunday morning crash involving an Amtrak passenger train and a freight train in Cayce, South Carolina, killed at least two people and injured more than 100.
Here are the major developments of the morning.
▪ There were eight crew members and approximately 139 passengers on board. Anyone seeking info about passengers on Train 91 should call the Amtrak info line at 1-800-523-9101.
▪ The two people who were killed were Amtrak employees. They were identified as train engineer Michael Kempf, 54, from Savannah, Ga., and conductor Michael Cella, 36, Orange Park, Fla.
▪ The crash between the Amtrak train and a CSX freight train occurred near Charleston Highway and Pine Ridge Road around 2:35 a.m. Sunday. The lead engine and a few passenger cars derailed.
▪ The Amtrak train appeared to be on the wrong track, according to SC Gov. Henry McMaster, when it collided with a freight train that was stationary and on a loading track.
▪ All the passengers have been removed from Amtrak 91, which was operating from New York to Miami.
▪ More than 100 passengers were taken to local hospitals, McMaster said. The Palmetto Health hospital system received 62 patients from the crash. According to Dr. Steve Shelton with Palmetto Health, one patient remains critical and two others are in serious condition. There were 48 patients being cared for at the main Palmetto Health location in Columbia. At least two children were involved in the accident, Shelton said.
▪ The White House released this statement: “The President has been briefed on the train accident in South Carolina and is receiving regular updates. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident.”
▪ Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board will be arriving on site all day and will help determine the cause of the crash, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt told CNN.
▪ One person told The State that he and friends heard the train crash this morning. He said the crash sounded like one huge boom, almost like a propane tank exploding.
▪ There are no threats to the public, officials said, and the only road that is blocked from the incident is Pine Ridge Road. The public has been asked to NOT go to the scene of in Cayce. You will not be able to see the train.
▪ More than 5,000 gallons of fuel spilled from the crash, with all leaks secured.
▪ For those who were classified as injured, their injuries range from small scratches to broken bones, according to Lexington County public information officer Harrison Cahill.
Derek Pettaway, a passenger in one of the cars near the end of the train, told CNN that he was asleep at the time of the impact.
Pettaway said officials reacted swiftly and passengers were led off quickly.
“Nobody was panicking, people were in shock more than anything,” he said.
Pettaway said it was too dark to see very much, but most of the cars he did see were off the tracks but remained upright.
A shelter and reception site are being set up by the American Red Cross at Pine Ridge Middle School. That’s where the passengers who were not injured are being placed.
“We know that they are shaken up quite a bit and this is unlike anything else they’ve ever been through before,” said Capt. Adam Myrick with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. “We wanted to get them out of the cold, get them out of the weather.”
Temperatures were in the upper 30s when the incident occurred.
This is the second fatal Amtrak crash in a week and the third in the last few months. Three people were killed in Washington State in December when an Amtrak train crashed there.