Amtrak train derails near Tacoma, Wash., shuts down interstate

Photo shows a railcar hanging off the side of a bridge; the derailment killed three people on board

December 18, 2017
I-5 near Tacoma, Washington

An Amtrak train derailed on Monday morning, blocking southbound lanes of a highway near Tacoma, Wash.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) tweeted a picture of the derailment at 7:45 a.m. PST, showing what appeared to be at least one rail car hanging off a bridge over the interstate. I-5 southbound near Dupont, about 20 miles southwest of Tacoma, was closed due to the incident.

The Pierce County Sheriff Department indicated on Twitter that several cars on I-5 were struck by the derailed cars. The tweet said multiple motorists were injured on the roadway, though no fatalities have been reported yet.

The National Transportation Safety Board is apparently investigating the accident, and Amtrak indicated their awareness of the incident in a statement.

The WSDOT Tacoma Traffic Twitter page is posting updates of the incident. The tweets indicate that SB I-5 will be closed until further notice, urging drivers to use alternate routes.

Update 12/19/17: Federal authorities confirmed late Monday that the derailed train was traveling at 80 mph on a 30 mph stretch of track. Three people on the train were killed, and dozens of others injured were taken to the hospital.

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Source: NBC, USA Today, WSDOT

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