Dramatic videos show passengers fleeing an overcrowded Amtrak train that struck a dump truck and derailed in Missouri.
“Damn, it happened,” New Mexico passenger Robert Nightingale is heard to say as he walks down the train’s debris-strewn corridor towards a ray of light from an open window.
Later, video posted to Facebook Live by Mr Nightingale shows passengers sitting on overturned train carriages.
The Taos resident said he was taking a nap in the train’s sleeper when the train suddenly started rocking on Monday afternoon.
“I heard – I don’t know what I heard – then it all started going in slow motion. I could feel the tracks going back and forth,” he told CNN. “Then it started falling on my side of the room. I felt the ground coming and was afraid the windows would smash in, so I scrambled to the top floor exit. Then we slipped and came to a stop, and then it was quiet for a while.”
At least 50 people were injured and at least three killed in the derailment, according to local officials.
The accident happened on a public train crossing near rural Mendon, Missouri, 100 miles northeast of Kansas City.
First responders from several counties have gathered at the crash site, as have state highway cops.
At least three people were taken to Columbia University Hospital in unknown conditions, hospital officials said.
A broken truck axle was photographed by passengers near the scene.
The derailment occurred on a Los Angeles-Chicago train with about 243 people on board, according to Amtrak.
It’s the second derailment in two days after an Amtrak train struck a vehicle in rural California, killing three people and injuring two others.
The passengers were taken to a local high school in Mendon to recover.
“It was surreal,” Jason Drinkard, who boarded the train in Kansas City, told KSHB. “You see movies that have it, and there’s no way to describe it exactly… My mind was telling me I can’t believe this is actually happening. Everything else was just slow motion. There’s dust in the car.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement he was “saddened to hear about the Amtrak derailment in Chariton County this afternoon” and called on residents to pray for the victims of the crash.