At least three people were killed Saturday afternoon when an Amtrak train that runs between Seattle and Chicago derailed in north-central Montana, an official with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office said. Dispatcher Starr Tyler told the AP that three people died in the derailment. Amtrak said in a statement that there were multiple injuries, and the New York Times reports the number of injured is at least 50. The Empire Builder train derailed at 4pm near Joplin, a town of about 200, said Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams. The accident scene is about 150 miles north of Helena. The train had about 147 passengers and 13 crew members onboard.
Megan Vandervest, a passenger who was going to visit a friend in Seattle, told the Times that she was awakened by the derailment. “My first thought was that we were derailing because, to be honest, I have anxiety and I had heard stories about trains derailing,” said Vandervest, who is from Minneapolis. “My second thought was that’s crazy. We wouldn’t be derailing. Like, that doesn’t happen.” She told the Times that the car behind hers was tilted over, the one behind that was entirely tipped over, and the three cars behind that “had completely fallen off the tracks and were detached from the train.”
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