National Transportation Safety Board officials were expected in rural Missouri on Tuesday to investigate an Amtrak train derailment that killed three people.
Amtrak said about 275 passengers and 12 crew members were aboard a train en route to Chicago from Los Angeles when it hit a dump truck on Monday afternoon, killing the driver.
Two train passengers also died when seven of eight cars on the Amtrak Southwest Chief train came off the tracks, said Cpl. Justin Dunn, spokesperson for Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The crash happened at 12:42 p.m. in Mendon, Missouri, about 84 miles northeast of Kansas City. It follows another Amtrak train crash Sunday in northern California where three people died.
Here’s what we know Tuesday:
The crash and derailment happened on a gravel road in Chariton County, southwest of Mendon, at an “uncontrolled intersection” with no traffic lights or electronic controls, said Lt. Eric Brown of the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Monday.
Train cars were tossed on their sides and passengers were left scrambling to find an exit.
“All of a sudden, the car that we were on was over, and everyone was flying everywhere, seats were coming apart, bags were going everywhere,” Amtrak passenger Jason Drinkard, who boarded the train at Kansas City’s Union Station, told KMBC News.
Mike Spencer, a farmer working near the crash site, said the dump truck driver was hauling rock for a levy on a local creek for an ongoing project.
Among the passengers were 16 children and eight adults from two Boy Scout troops heading to Wisconsin, said Scott Armstrong, director of national media relations for the Boy Scouts of America. Nobody in the groups was seriously harmed.
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What do experts say?
The National Transportation Safety Board, which planned to send a 14-member go-team to the site Tuesday, said Monday it was too early to speculate on why the truck was on the tracks at an intersection.
The crossing, Spencer said, is known to locals as dangerous, particularly for people driving slow farm equipment.
NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said trains won’t be able to use the track for “a matter of days” as investigators gather evidence.
Brown said Monday marked the start of a lengthier investigation into Amtrak’s latest derailment. “We have a lot more information we were seeking the need to obtain,” he said at a press conference.
Second Amtrak crash in 2 days
This was the second fatal Amtrak crash in recent days. On Sunday, an Amtrak commuter train in Brentwood, California, struck a vehicle at an unmarked crossing. Three people inside the car were killed and three others were injured, California Highway Patrol reported.
In September, three people died when an Amtrak train derailed in north-central Montana, near Joplin, on its journey between Seattle and Chicago.
CALIFORNIA CRASH:At least 3 dead after Amtrak train collides with car
2021 DERAILMENT:Cause of Amtrak derailment in Montana still under investigation
Contributing: The Associated Press