Two dead, 70 injured in SC train collision

Posted February 07, 2018

An investigation is now underway on how an Amtrak passenger train ended up on the wrong track, causing a deadly crash with another train early Sunday morning in the USA state of SC. The crash occurred shortly after a stop in Columbia, according to the state Office of Regulatory Staff.

It went onto a side track where it collided with a parked CSX freight train. An emergency official earlier told reporters the injuries ranged in severity from small scratches to broken bones.

The two employees who died were 54-year-old Michael Kempf, the train engineer, and 36-year-old Michael Cella, who was the train conductor, ABC reported.

According to Amtrak President Richard Anderson, the switch system that diverted Train 91 was "down" and CSX was operating it manually when the accident happened.

The Silver Star, en route from NY to Miami with almost 150 people aboard, was going an estimated 59mph when it struck the empty CSX train at around 2.45am, Governor Henry McMaster said. He did not elaborate.

It was estimated about 22,000 litres of fuel was spilled from the CSX train, but officials said there was no threat to the public.

Late a year ago, an Amtrak train derailed in northwestern USA state of Washington, killing three people and injured dozens. "This was a loading track for a sidetrack - where the collision took place". They expect to interview the surviving Amtrak crew on Tuesday.

"It knocked us around, and we got bumped into the wall from the impact, and the train derailed".

Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal Amtrak train crash in Cayce South Carolina Sunday Feb. 4 2018. At least two were killed and dozens injured
Tim Dominick The State AP An Amtrak passenger train slammed into a parked freight train on a side track in South Carolina early Sunday

Elliot Smith told The State newspaper of Columbia that he was staying with a friend when they heard what sounded like a propane tank exploding.

There is said to be a dog food plant not far from the site of the crash that has rail service.

"The sound was so loud, you instantly knew it was bad", Smith said.

Authorities say 116 people were taken to four hospitals. The freight train was parked on a loading or switch track, McMaster said, while the Amtrak train was moving at about 59 miles per hour.

"Karen and I are praying for everyone involved in the Amtrak collision in South Carolina", Pence said. "Thank you to our incredible First Responders for the work they've done!"

"More information will be provided as available".

Three people were killed and more than 70 others were hurt when a train careened off a bridge outside Tacoma, Washington, on Amtrak's inaugural run on a new route for its Cascades service on December 18. One person was killed.

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