Crucial questions are now being raised as to whether the passenger railroad was equipped to handle the new service after a high-speed Amtrak on its inaugural run crashed in a deadly derailment in Washington state on Monday morning. The shocking accident left multiple people dead and injured.
Tha Amtrak train was carrying 77 passengers, plus five crew members, and was traveling across a highway overpass in DuPoint, Washington, and was just entering into a curve when it derailed causing two rail cars to fall onto the highway below and horrifically leaving another dangling in the air.
It is still unclear what truly caused the crash, and how fast the train was going, although there are initial estimates that say the train was going at 80 mph when it derailed 40 miles south of Seattle.
An official also shared to the Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track.
There’s no official count yet on the casualties. Local media in Seattle report that at least six people may have died from the accident. 77 people were brought to hospitals for treatment. At least two people are said to be in critical conditions at the hospitals while 11 others are seriously injured.
The train was part of the brand new Cascades high-speed rail service program that Amtrak was just launching on that same day between Seattle and Portland.
The train was meant to travel up to a maximum speed of 79 mph. The cars are also supposed to be equipped with a reliable special technology that utilizes gravity to enable the train to tilt through curves while maintaining its high speed.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has sent a team of investigators to the scene. They will delve into establishing whether mechanical troubles or human errors were to be blamed for the horrific crash. Specifically, the investigators will probe whether the tracks were properly equipped to handle the speed, how many practice runs were conducted prior to the launch, how fast the train was really going, what the speed limit was, whether the brakes were applied and if there was proper signaling, among so many essential questions.
Some of the questions may be answered by reviewing the train’s event recorder. Also, it will be looked into whether the tracks were equipped with Positive Train Control ( PTC), a technology that will eventually be required by law that can automatically slow down that is moving beyond the speed limit.
Trump commented on the incident via Twitter and also emphasized his push to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. The President wrote: “The train accident that just occurred in DuPoint, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/942827072824672262?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 18, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The President also said his thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the accident. He also thanked the first responders and vowed that the White House is monitoring the developments on the crash.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White House.</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/942829676699021312?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 18, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>