A fourth person was killed after an Amtrak train crashed and derailed on a truck in rural Missouri Monday afternoon, injuring 150 people, authorities said Tuesday.
Three of the dead were train passengers and one died at a hospital in Columbus, Missouri State Highway Patrol said in a statement Tuesday. Amtrak said the dumper’s driver also died.
The crash happened at 12:42 a.m. in Mendon, Missouri, about 140 miles northeast of Kansas City. Amtrak said about 275 passengers and 12 crew members were aboard a train bound for Chicago from Los Angeles when it hit a dump truck.
Seven of the eight cars on the Amtrak Southwest Chief train went off the track, Cpl said. Justin Dunn, spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Law enforcement officers and Amtrak officials took 150 people to 10 hospitals on Monday with injuries ranging from minor to serious, according to the highway patrol.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in rural Missouri on Tuesday to investigate the derailment. The incident follows another Amtrak train crash in northern California on Sunday that killed three people.
Here’s what we know:
How did the train derail?
The crash and derailment occurred on a dirt road in Chariton County, southwest of Mendon, at an “uncontrolled intersection” with no traffic lights or electronic controls, Missouri State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Eric Brown said on Monday.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday it was too early to speculate about why the truck was on the tracks at an intersection.
Mike Spencer, a farmer who worked near the crash site, said the dump truck driver was hauling rock for a charge on a local creek for an ongoing project. The crossing is known to locals as dangerous, especially for those driving slow farm equipment, he said.
Passengers tell moment of crash
Officials responding to the scene found train cars being thrown on their sides and passengers scrambling to find an exit.
“All of a sudden the car we were in was by, and everyone was flying everywhere, chairs were falling apart, bags were going everywhere,” Amtrak passenger Jason Drinkard, who got on the train at Union Station in Kansas City, told KMBC News.
Passenger Rob Nightingale fell asleep in his compartment when he was shaken awake when the train car overturned and pushed his window into the ground, he told the Associated Press. Nightingale, who was unharmed, and other passengers climbed out of the overturned car and through another window to get to safety.
“It was all on the tracks,” Nightingale reported when he saw the wreckage as he exited the train.
Among the passengers were 16 children and eight adults of two Boy Scouts en route to Wisconsin, said Scott Armstrong, director of national media relations for the Boy Scouts of America. No one in the groups was seriously injured.
More:Death toll rises to 50 after abandoned trailer is found in San Antonio. This is what we know.
NTSB is investigating the crash
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a 14-person go-team Tuesday to the site.
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said trains won’t be able to use the track “a matter of days” as investigators gather evidence.
Brown said Monday marked the beginning of a longer investigation into Amtrak’s latest derailment. “We have a lot more information that we are looking for and need to get,” he said at a news conference.
Railroad collisions, such as Monday’s accident, are known dangers in the rail industry, attorney Kristofer Riddle, a partner at Chicago-based law firm Clifford Law Offices, told USA TODAY.
The company represents more than 40 passengers on the Amtrak train that derailed in Montana in September and won $16.75 million for their customers involved in the 2017 Amtrak derailment outside of DuPont, Washington.
“It’s especially dangerous when we’re talking about uncontrolled crosswalks,” Riddle said. “If you combine that with a high-speed passenger train, the consequences will always be tragic.”
Second Amtrak crash in 2 days
It was the second fatal Amtrak crash in recent days. On Sunday, an Amtrak commuter train in Brentwood, California, struck a vehicle at an unmarked crosswalk. Three people in the car were killed and three others injured, the California Highway Patrol reported.
In September, three people died when an Amtrak train derailed in northern Montana, near Joplin, on its journey between Seattle and Chicago.
CALIFORNIA CRASH:At least 3 dead after Amtrak train collides with car
RELAXATION 2021:Amtrak derailment in Montana still under investigation
Contributions: The Associated Press