An Amtrak train derailment occurred in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section Tuesday evening. The train was on the way to New York City, and the crash resulted in the deaths of at least six passengers. More than 140 other passengers were hospitalized with other injuries, including eight passengers currently listed in critical condition, local medical officials said.
The train, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, had all seven of its cars derail off the tracks near Frankford Junction on the 2000 block of Wheatsheaf Lane around 9 p.m. Many passengers have detailed the drama taking place as they heard the screeching sound of the derailment outside their cars.
“All of a sudden it felt like the brakes were hit hard and then our car,” Michael Black, one of the Amtrak’s passengers, told NBC Philadelphia. “We were third from the last, just slowly started going over to the side. I tried to just brace my arm against it and then just got off.”
Another Amtrak passenger, Jeremy Wladis, told USA Today that when the crash happened “cellphones were flying, laptops were flying.” He also said “two women were catapulted into the luggage rack.” Being one of the first people to leave his train car, Wladis said everything around him was “just complete chaos.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter went to the scene of the Amtrak train derailment only to find what he described as an “absolute disastrous mess.”
“I have never seen anything like it in my life,” Mayor Nutter said regarding the catastrophe’s aftermath. “We do not know what happened here. We do not know why this happened.”
Amtrak is not running its service between New York and Philadelphia on Wednesday; however, Amtrak tickets will be honored by New Jersey Transit for routes between New York City and Trenton. Amtrak added that it will also modify service in routes between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston.
Those with loved ones aboard the derailed train can call a special Amtrak hotline at 1-800-523-9101 to find out where to find passengers. An investigation team is being sent by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to learn what exactly caused the Amtrak train derailment and how to improve current train safety standards.
The fatal Amtrak train derailment follows closely on the heels of another Amtrak train crash, which occurred Sunday in Amite, La., when a New Orleans bound train struck a flatbed truck at a railway crossing. The truck driver was killed and two passengers were injured in that crash.