'At least 3 killed' in US train derailment

·2-min read

At least three people have been killed after a train that runs between Seattle and Chicago derailed in north-central Montana, toppling several cars onto their sides.

The westbound Amtrak train derailed about 4pm local time on

Saturday near Joplin, a town of about 200, Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said in a statement.

The accident scene is about 50km from the border with Canada.

Liberty County sheriff's dispatcher Starr Tyler told The Associated Press three people died in the derailment. She did not have more details. Amtrak said in a statement there were multiple injuries.

The train had about 141 passengers and 16 crew members onboard, Abrams said. The train had two locomotives and 10 cars, eight of which derailed, he said.

"We are deeply saddened to learn local authorities are now confirming that three people have lost their lives as a result of this accident," Abrams said.

Megan Vandervest, a passenger who was going to visit a friend in Seattle, told The New York Times she was awakened by the derailment.

"My first thought was that we were derailing because, to be honest, I have anxiety and I had heard stories about trains derailing," said Vandervest.

"My second thought was that's crazy. We wouldn't be derailing. Like, that doesn't happen."

She told the Times the car behind hers was tilted, the one behind that was tipped over, and the three cars behind that "had completely fallen off the tracks and were detached from the train".

Speaking from the Liberty County Senior Center, where some passengers were being taken, Vandervest said it felt like "extreme turbulence on a plane".

Residents of communities near the crash site quickly mobilised to help the passengers.

Chester Councilwoman Rachel Ghekiere said she and others helped about 50 to 60 passengers who were brought to a local school.

"I went to the school and assisted with water, food, wiping dirt off faces," she said.

"They appeared to be tired, shaken but happy that they were where they were. Some looked more dishevelled than others, depending where they were on the train."

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