US train derailment leaves 3 dead, several hurt in Montana

By: News Desk      Published: 09:13 AM, 26 Sep, 2021
US train derailment leaves 3 dead, several hurt in Montana
A view of the derailed train.

Three people were killed and over 50 injured after an Amtrak train derailed in Montana in the United States.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office confirmed to FOX Television Stations that at least three people were killed after an Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana.

Amtrak officials also said injuries were reported after seven out of 10 train cars went off track around 4 p.m. MST. The accident scene is about 150 miles north of Helena and about 30 miles from the border with Canada. Investigators have yet to reveal the cause of the incident. 

Amtrak officials said the train was the Empire Builder train 7/27, which runs between Portland/Seattle to Chicago. They said approximately 146 passengers and 16 crew members were on board. "Amtrak is working with the local authorities to transport injured passengers, and safely evacuate all other passengers," the company said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. 

The train derailed between the Havre and Shelby stops in Montana, the KXLY TV and KSEN radio reported.

The KSEN TV station reported that the train derailed about 1 mile from Joplin, Montana, a town of about 200 people.

Megan Vandervest, a passenger on the train who was going to visit a friend in Seattle, told The New York Times that she was awakened by the derailment.

"My first thought was that we were derailing because, to be honest, I have anxiety and I had heard stories about trains derailing," said Vandervest, who is from Minneapolis. "My second thought was that’s crazy. We wouldn’t be derailing. Like, that doesn’t happen."

She told the Times that the car behind hers was tilted over, the one behind that was entirely tipped over, and the three cars behind that "had completely fallen off the tracks and were detached from the train."

Speaking from the Liberty County Senior Center, where passengers were being taken, Vandervest said it felt like "extreme turbulence on a plane."

Reports and pictures from passengers show cars tipped over off the tracks. It was a sunny fall day with dozens of people standing or sitting alongside the track, some with luggage.

The images showed sunny skies, and it appeared the accident occurred along a straight section of tracks.

"As a result of the derailment, Empire Builder trains 7/27 and 8/28 originating on Sat. Sept. 25 are cancelled between Minot, ND (MOT) and Shelby, MT (SBY)," Amtrak added. "Additionally, on Sunday, Sept. 26, westbound Empire Builder train 7 will terminate in Minneapolis, MN (MSP) and eastbound Empire Builder train 8 will originate in Minneapolis, MN (MSP). No substitute transportation is available."