Amtrak Train Derails Onto Busy Highway In "Mass Casualty Incident"

There were fatalities this morning as an Amtrak train plunged off a bridge onto Interstate 5 near Seattle.

Washington Department of Transportation

Amtrak train 501 was heading south after departing just before 8 a.m. on a route from Olympia, Washington to Tacoma. The train fell off a bridge over the interstate with 75 passengers on board.

Authorities are reporting fatalities and a number of injuries from the crash, with the local Pierce County Sheriff's Department calling it a "mass casualty" incident.

Washington State Patrol

While cars were on the highway when the train crashed onto it, no injuries are reported for drivers.

A reporter who stepped off the train just 10 minutes before the derailment says this was the first day of service for the new early morning train route.

While it's not known what speed the train was traveling at, passenger Chris Karnes says the route over the bridge was rated for a maximum speed of 79 miles per hour.

"We had just passed the city of DuPont and it seemed like we were going around a curve," Karnes told CBS.

Washington State Patrol

"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."

"The tracks for this line were supposed to be upgraded to be able to handle higher speeds," he said. "I'm not sure what happened at this juncture."

Authorities still have not announced how many passengers were injured or killed during the crash.

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