3 killed when Amtrak train derails in Mendon, Missouri
Two people who died were on the train and the other person who died was in the truck that was hit
MENDON, Mo. (KCTV) - Three people have died and at least 50 were injured after an Amtrak train hit a dump truck and derailed in Mendon on Monday afternoon.
According to Amtrak, the derailment happened at 1:42 p.m. It happened after the train hit a dump truck at a public grade crossing in Mendon, Missouri, which is in Chariton County.
The train, Southwest Chief Train 4, was going from Los Angeles to Chicago. Eight cars and two locomotives derailed.
Amtrak said there were about 243 passengers on the train and 12 crew members. There were “early reports of injuries.” At 9 p.m., Amtrak stated that crew members are among the injured.
In the afternoon, MU Health Care in Columbia said that they had received three patients due to the derailment. “That number could change,” they added. By 10 p.m., MU Health Care said they were caring for 16 people injured in the derailment. At least one patient was taken to a hospital in Kansas City that is “equipped to handle severe injuries,” as well. Later, Chariton County Ambulance Service told the media that there were multiple fatalities and at least 50 people were injured.
Then, in a 5 p.m. press conference, Missouri State Highway Patrol said three people had died due to the derailment. Two were on the train and the other individual was in the truck that was hit.
MSHP also said that the crossing at Porche Prairie Avenue where the accident happened was uncontrolled.
“Local authorities are currently assisting customers,” Amtrak said in the afternoon. “Our Incident Response Team has been activated, and we are deploying emergency personnel to the scene to help support our passengers, our employees and their families with their needs.”
Many of those who were on the train when it derailed were taken to Northwestern High School in Mendon via school bus. “Individuals with questions about their friends and family who were traveling aboard this train should call 800-523-9101,” Amtrak said.
“Amtrak is working with local authorities to make sure those who are injured get medical care and everyone else receives services and transportation,” Amtrak said in a 9 p.m. update. “We are grateful for the support from the local authorities who provided assistance and resources for our customers and employees.”
Each passenger who spoke to KCTV5 News on June 27 said they were heartbroken for the passengers who did not survive. They were also feeling grateful to the community there for rallying to support them.
Several passengers described how, even though the derailment happened in an instant when the cars started turning, everything seemed in slow motion. Each of them talked about strangers coming together to help get everyone they could out of the derailed cars.
“There was one gentleman who lifted all of us in our train car through the ceiling,” Sherri Schwanz. “Another passenger grabs us afterwards, and we’re not children. It was all ages, all sizes of people. And, the humanity that came through with every single person. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me. It lifted -- as tragic of this accident is -- spirits to have so many caring people.”
Two Boy Scout troops from Appleton, Wisconsin, were also on the train. The director of national media for Boy Scouts of America said a total of 16 scouts and 8 adult leaders were on the train. He said the scouts are believed to be between 14 and 17 years old. He confirmed none of them were hurt. All 24 of them reportedly stayed at the scene in order to render aid and help people who were hurt. Boy Scouts of America working to get them back to Wisconsin.
The National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that they are launching a “go-team” with 14 members who will investigate the derailment. They are expected to arrive at the scene on Tuesday. “We will fully support the NTSB with its investigation,” Amtrak said.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson posted the following on Facebook following the accident: “We are saddened to hear of the Amtrak train derailment in Chariton County this afternoon. Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers, and other emergency management personnel are responding. We ask Missourians to join us in praying for all those impacted.”
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted: “Having relied on Amtrak to cross our state throughout my college years and long after, I remember the ride well. My heart goes out to the passengers and all impacted by today’s event and I extend my thanks to those responding to today’s derailment on the scene and at the hospital.”
Note: This is not the only Amtrak train to derail in the United States very recently. There was one in California on Sunday that hit a vehicle at an intersection without crossing arms and three people were killed. You can learn more about that accident here.
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