A New York-bound Amtrak train with more than 200 people aboard derailed Monday in eastern North Carolina after colliding with a tractor-trailer that was apparently trying to turn onto a highway. There were injuries but none was life-threatening.
One passenger on the train said there were “a lot of ambulances” on the scene, according to WRAL-TV. “There was a massive jerk, and we were kind of thrown forward a little bit, and the train came to a sudden stop,” said Charlotte Story, a student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “I couldn’t tell you if it was trying to slow down or not. There was no whistle. It came completely out of the blue.”
Story said many passengers had what appeared to be minor injuries. Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp told the Daily Herald in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., that no life-threatening injuries were reported.
Amtrak said the train, which originated in Charlotte, had 212 passengers and eight crewmembers on board. Several passengers were taken to medical facilities for treatment, and emergency responders were on the scene. Amtrak’s investigation was ongoing.
The collision took place in Halifax, N.C., about 80 miles northeast of Raleigh.
Amber Keeter, an occupant traveling in a car directly behind the tractor-trailer, told WRAL-TV that the vehicle tried to turn left onto U.S. 301 when the train rumbled into view and hit the bed of the truck, which was hauling a large structure covered in a blue tarp.
Keeter said the tractor-trailer had been trying to negotiate the turn for about 15 minutes. A state trooper was there to help, she said. “It wasn’t so much they got stuck. They could not make the turn. They were too long.”
The truck was carrying a mobile home, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. “The train ran right though it,” train passenger Patrick Narmi, 21, told the newspaper. Narmi said he had just settled into his seat for the 10-hour trip to New York’s Penn Station when the train “braked harder than usual.”
“A few seconds later, I heard the impact,” he said. He was thrown headfirst from his seat into the seat in front of him. Narmi ended up on the floor.
North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said he was “relieved that there are no fatalities reported at this time, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured.”
The Daily Herald reported that the train struck a large truck around noon Monday. Aerial video of the crash site showed the Amtrak train’s engine on its side, along with several cars lying beside the tracks.
On its Twitter feed, the National Transportation Safety Board said it was “aware of reports of an Amtrak train accident in Halifax County, N.C., and … gathering additional information.”
The crash caused the closure of two nearby highways.
Amtrak said people with questions about friends or family aboard can call (800) 523-9101 for information.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1GkeoXf