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Amtrak Train Derailment Tragically Kills 3 in Montana, Leaves Dozens Injured

Montana Train Accident Lawyer | Amtrak Train Derailment Kills 3 Joplin Montana

Three people died tragically over the weekend when an Amtrak train careened off the tracks near Joplin, Montana, Saturday afternoon.

Around 50 others were injured in the wreck, including 7 requiring hospitalization.

Amtrak Empire Builder Was Headed to Seattle from Chicago

The September 25th accident occurred shortly after 4:00 p.m., as the Amtrak Empire Builder headed west towards Seattle, Washington, on a trip that began in Chicago, Illinois.

The two-locomotive train left the tracks near a switch located amid vast farmland in northern Montana, just outside of Joplin. Eight of 10 cars derailed, with several cars tipping onto their sides.

“I was in one of the front cars, and we got badly jostled, thrown from one side of the train to the other,” one passenger told MSNBC. “I’m a pretty big guy, and it picked me up from my chair and threw me into one wall and then threw me into the other wall.”

5 Injured Amtrak Passengers Remain Hospitalized

More than 140 passengers and 16 crew were aboard at the time.

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that three passengers had died in the derailment. Hill County’s disaster and emergency services coordinator, Amanda Frickel, told ABC News that “upwards of 50” people had suffered injuries “from minor cuts and bruises, sprains, to a couple of head wounds and critical.”

A total of seven people were taken to area hospitals, and five remained hospitalized in stable condition as of Sunday.

Amtrak Train Derailed on BNSF Tracks

So far, officials have not determined what caused the Amtrak train to jump the tracks.

The Empire Builder was operating on tracks owned by BNSF, and Amtrak was not responsible for their upkeep. According to The New York Times, that particular section of rail was last inspected on September 23rd.

So far, it’s not clear if the train derailed while switching tracks. However, if that was the case, a misaligned switch could be to blame.

Some passengers also said that the ride had felt bumpy for several miles before the wreck. Those reports could indicate a problem with the train’s suspension system. However, if the turbulence was more sudden, the train might have hit a section of track that had buckled due to overheating.

A 14-member team from the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the derailment in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, and BNSF.

“We share the sense of urgency to understand why the accident happened; however, until the investigation is complete, we will not comment further on the accident itself,” William J. Flynn, the chief executive of Amtrak, said in a statement Sunday. “The NTSB will identify the cause or causes of this accident, and Amtrak commits to taking appropriate actions to prevent a similar accident in the future.

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