(PHILADELPHIA) — Federal investigators will visit the site of an Amtrak crash in northeast Philadelphia Wednesday morning, trying to uncover the cause of a train derailment responsible for at least six deaths.
The accident happened at about 9:28 p.m., with several cars overturning and the engine separating from the rest of the train.
Amtrak reported that there were approximately 238 passengers and five crew members on board. In addition to the five known casualties, more than 200 people were treated at area hospitals, authorities said.
“It is an absolute disastrous mess,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said at a press conference. “Never seen anything like this in my life.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is launching a full team to investigate. Additionally, the Federal Railroad Administration said it was dispatching at least eight investigators to the scene.
While the train’s speed will be considered, Nutter said it was too early to know what caused the accident.
Amtrak service between New York and Philadelphia remains shut down Wednesday.
The front end of the Northeast Regional train, which was traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York City, reportedly shook as it went into a turn and the train’s seven cars went off the rails. The Federal Railroad Administration reports that the engine of the train and two cars were upright, three were laying on their sides, one was nearly on its roof and one was leaning dramatically.
First responders used hydraulic tools to help trapped passengers out of the mangled cars.
“The engine completely separated from the rest of the train and one of the cars is perpendicular to the rest of the cars,” Nutter said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy was on the train and he tweeted that he was all right and was trying to help others. He told ABC’s Philadelphia station, WPVI-TV, that he heard a “bang,” and the train “wobbled” from one side to the other.
“Obviously there was a lot of mayhem,” he told WPVI-TV. “People were pretty banged up. There was a lot of blood, a lot of bleeding. I pulled myself up. The guy who I kind of landed on was OK. The guy next to him was completely passed out, knocked unconscious.”
Murphy said the unconscious man came-to, got off the train and began to help other people. Murphy said to his knowledge, most people had gotten off the train as of 11:15 p.m.
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