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A train in Washington state has derailed, leaving at least one person dead and others injured. The Amtrak train was heading south when it came off the rails and left one carriage dangling over the edge of an overpass onto a busy highway below.
It's reported that some 75 people were onboard, according to a Washington State Department of Transportation spokesperson, with the train able to carry up to 250. The derailment has also blocked all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 - one of America's busiest highways - near Mounts Road in Pierce County.
According to reports by Kiro7, the derailment has now been classed as a mass casualty incident by first responders.
Full details have yet to be confirmed, however Associated Press has reported that authorities have confirmed 'multiple fatalities', after one death was confirmed by the Pierce County Sheriff's Office in the immediate aftermath alongside other 'injuries and casualties'.
"Emergency crews are on the scene and the Amtrak Management is responding," an Amtrak spokesperson said in a statement. "Some injuries are reported. Service between Seattle and Portland is suspended for the time being."
In the meantime, travellers have been advised to avoid the area, with all southbound lanes currently blocked.
The train had departed from Tacoma prior to 8am, forming part of a new service which had launched that morning.
Chris Karnes, who was on board at the time of derailment, told CBS that the emergency doors had not been working properly, forcing passengers to kick out the windows to leave the train.
"We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve," he said. "All of a sudden, we felt this rocking and creaking noise, and it felt like we were heading down a hill. The next thing we know, we're being slammed into the front of our seats, windows are breaking, we stop, and there's water gushing out of the train. People were screaming."
According to eyewitnesses on Twitter, ambulances and emergency vehicles arrived on the scene almost immediately.
Words: Mischa Pearlman
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