At least three people were killed and 50 others injured after an Amtrak train derailed in Montana on Saturday afternoon, setting a furious response by rescuers who scrambled to evacuate passengers from in cars, authorities said.
Amtrak said five vehicles in one Empire Builder the train derailed at about 4 pm local time. Nearly 147 passengers and 13 crew members were on board, “with recorded injuries,” Amtrak said in a statement.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office said three people were confirmed dead.
Amanda Frickel, disaster and disaster services coordinator for Hill County, Mont., Said in an interview that “more than” 50 people were injured.
Ms. said. Frickel that the train, which was heading west, derailed outside Joplin, Mont., Which is about 200 miles north of Helena.
Ms. said. Frickel said rescuers from six provinces were responding to the scene and up to five hospitals were on standby to receive injured passengers. There are also a number of medical helicopters standing, he said.
“All life has been extricated from destruction,” Ms. Frickel.
Officers evacuated the survivors to two separate sites and considered the head. Emergency responders plan to put people in hotels once their medical needs are detected.
“Every county around helps,” said Sheriff Donna Whitt of Toole County, Mont.
Amtrak said in a statement that it is “working with local authorities to transport the injured passengers, and safely evacuate all other passengers.”
Megan Vandervest, who will be visiting a friend in Seattle, boarded the train Friday night from Minneapolis, where she lives.
On Saturday afternoon, he was sleeping in the first car when he was wide awake.
“My first thought was that we were derailing because, honestly, I had anxiety and I heard stories about trains derailing,” Ms. Vandervest. “My second thought was that crazy. We’re not going to be derailing. Like this, it’s not happening.”
He soon found out. The car he was riding in was completely on track.
But the car behind him tilted, the one in the rear was completely finished, and the three cars in the rear “completely fell off the tracks and separated from the train,” he said.
Speaking from the Liberty County Senior Center, where passengers will be taken, Ms. Vandervest that he felt lucky that he and the three other people with him were not injured.
In his car, he said, it felt like “too much chaos on a plane.”
Austin Knudsen, the Montana attorney, said Montana Highway Patrol soldiers were among those helping in the rescue effort. “We pray for the safety of all passengers and crew on board,” he said.
Karen Jelly, who works at Holland & Bonine Funeral Home, in Havre, Mont., Said the funeral was waiting for a frightened phone call from authorities. “It was so bad when we got the phone call,” he said.
Si Ms. Jelly, who moved there nine years ago from Wyoming, said the place is very welcoming.
He said the community “rallies around people when things aren’t going well.” Now, he said, “this memory will ruin it.”