Emergency workers searched through the wreckage of a New York-bound Amtrak train that derailed and overturned late Tuesday, claiming lives of six people and injuring dozens passangers.
The train carrying 243 people was headed to New York from Washington when it derailed around 9:30 p.m. Sixty-five people, including six who were in critical condition, were immediately delivered to hospitals, the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael A. Nutter, said.
“It is an absolute disastrous mess,” Mr. Nutter added. “I have never seen anything like this in my life.”
Aerial image shows railroad tracks having come completely off their ties at derailment location. pic.twitter.com/4mlssiaIip
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 13, 2015
“Train cars are overturned,” the city fire commissioner, Derrick J. V. Sawyer, revealed to reporters. “They’re in horrible shape. There’s a bunch of debris down there, sharp objects. It’s a dangerous situation for responders, even more dangerous for the riders out there.”
Officials claim that the derailed train had at least seven cars, including the engine, which separated from the rest. Six cars overturned. At least one looked as bent as a crumpled soda can, and parts of the damaged cars were so badly mangled that firefighters had to use hydraulic tools to rescue people trapped inside.
Aria Health, which has two hospitals nearby, said it had received 59 patients, including walk-ins. Maria Cerceo Slade, a spokeswoman, said most of the patients had minor injuries.
More scenes of first responders tending to victims. pic.twitter.com/QsLYnh2mhN
— Vinny Vella (@Vellastrations) May 13, 2015
Later officials reported that the situation had been taken under control and that they were beginning to notify passengers’ family members about the tragedy. Most of the passengers did not live in Philadelphia, and they were most likely residents of Washington, New Jersey or New York.
The cause of the crash still remains unclear. The accident took place close to Frankford Avenue and Wheatsheaf Lane, near a bend in the track. The mayor, meanwhile, said it was too early to tell whether it had played a role in the crash or if there were other factors.
“We have no idea what kind of speed there we’re talking about,” Mr. Nutter said, or “what else happened out there.”
He added, “And I’m not going to speculate on that.”
Mr. Nutter also announced that Amtrak service through Philadelphia would most likely be suspended for the rest of the week.
“It is completely wiped out down there,” he said.
Former Representative Patrick J. Murphy of Pennsylvania, who served in Congress from 2007 to 2011, was on the train. He said on Twitter that he was helping fellow passengers, adding, “Pray for those injured.”
— Patrick J. Murphy (@PatrickMurphyPA) May 13, 2015
A witness told CBS News the carriages derailed like a set of dominoes – once one car derailed, others followed – leaving dozens wounded.
“Some were unconscious. Some had lacerations,” he said. “It was like a bomb went off.”
“We were rolling along nice and smooth and then all of a sudden we were on our side,” passenger Don Kelleher told a local news agency.
“All of a sudden it felt like the brakes were hit hard and then our car,” passenger Michael Black said.
“Until the second of impact, everything was normal,” passenger Daniel Wetrin told CNN. “Then it was just chaos.”