Amtrak train derails near Philadelphia
A train ride for hundreds of commuters traveling on the country’s busiest rail corridor turned into a nightmare scenario on Tuesday evening after it derailed in Philadelphia, killing at least eight people and injuring at least 200 others.
The Amtrak Regional 188 traveling to New York City from Washington, D.C., had 238 passengers and five crew members on board. It derailed around 9:30 p.m. with rescue workers and investigators working into Wednesday morning. Officials told NBC News that all six cars and the engine had been derailed.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter called the accident an “absolute disastrous mess,” adding he had “never seen anything like this in my life.”
Witnesses described the chaotic scene — how the cars fell to their side, how passengers were flung around in their compartments, with some having to be lifted by safety by hydraulic tools. Hundreds of firefighters and police rushed to crash site to help survivors and help free several who were trapped in the train cars. Authorities declared the incident as a level-3, mass casualty event.
“Chairs inside the train became unscrewed and suitcases were falling on people,” Max Helfman, 19, told NBC News. Helfman, who was heading home to New Jersey, added, “My mother flew into me and I literally had to catch her,” he said. “People were bleeding from their head. It was awful.”
Former Congressman Patrick J. Murphy of Pennsylvania was also on board the train and tweeted chilling images of passengers being rescued by firefighters. “I’m on @Amtrak train that just crashed,” the Iraq war veteran tweeted. “Im ok. Helping others. Pray for those injured.”