Multiple injuries after Amtrak train derailment in Montana

Joplin, Mon. (AP) — Several people were injured on Saturday when the Amtrak train between Seattle and Chicago derailed Saturday afternoon in north-central Montana, the railroad agency said.

Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said in a statement that the Empire Builder train had derailed near about 200 towns of Joplin at 4 pm. The accident site is about 150 miles (241 kilometers) north of Helena and about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the Canadian border.

According to Abrams, the train had about 147 passengers and 13 crew members.

A train passenger, Megan Vandervest, who was about to visit a friend in Seattle, told the New York Times that he was awakened by a derailment.

“To be honest, I was worried and heard that the train was derailing, so I first thought it was derailing,” said Vandervest from Minneapolis. “My second idea was that it was crazy. We never derail. It’s just like it doesn’t happen.”

She told the Times that the car behind was tilted, the car behind was completely overturned, and the three cars behind were “completely dropped off the railroad tracks and separated from the train.”

Speaking from the Liberty County Senior Center where the passengers were taken, Vandervest said it felt like “extreme turbulence in an airplane.”

Amtrak was working with local governments to transport injured passengers and safely evacuate all other passengers, Abrams added.

Photos posted on social media showed some cars on their side. Passengers were standing beside the railroad tracks, and some carried luggage.

The image shows a clear sky, and the accident appeared to have occurred along the straight section of the railroad track.