United States: Two killed, more than a hundred injured in Amtrak train collision in South Carolina
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Early on Sunday morning,passenger train number 91, the , bound for from , slammed into a stationary freight train in , about ten (16 ) south of , capital of the US state of . Two Amtrak employees were killed and at least 116 were injured, some seriously.
The two killed were 54-year-old engineer Michael Kempf of, , and 36-year-old conductor Michael Cella of , . , chairman of the , told a press conference the passenger train had been diverted into a siding by a left "literally locked, with a padlock" in that position.
The collision happened at about 2:35 am(0735 ) at a switching yard in the small city of Cayce. The Amtrak train, with reportedly 139 passengers and eight employees aboard, collided head on with the freight train, which was parked with no one on board. The Amtrak locomotive and the leading locomotive on the freight train were destroyed; the Amtrak locomotive and some of its passenger cars derailed, and one of those cars was folded in half. Several freight cars were crumpled, reported. In a press conference, the state governor, , said the Amtrak locomotive was "barely recognizable" and described it as "a horrible thing to see, to understand the force involved".
Harrison Cahill, a spokesman for, gave a count of 116 injured, up from an initial report of 70; according to Derrec Becker, public information officer for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, injuries ranged "from cuts and bruises to severe broken bones". On Monday a Palmetto Health spokesperson said two patients were in serious and two in critical condition at their facilities. A spill of approximately 5,000 gallons of fuel from the freight train posed no safety hazard, according to officials.
Passenger Derek Pettaway told thenetwork that like most others, he had been sleeping when the collision happened. He said Amtrak staff cleared the passengers from the train rapidly, and there was no panic; "I think people were more in shock than anything else", he said.
"Key to this investigation is learning why the switch was lined that way", Sumwalt said. Amtrak's CEO,, speaking to reporters on Sunday, held CSX responsible; he stated the track in that area is operated by CSX and the signals, which CSX operates, were not working at the time of the collision and a CSX dispatcher was therefore directing the Amtrak train's movements. Sumwalt noted an automatic monitoring and braking system called , which was not in use on the stretch of line, could have forestalled the collision.
Several fatal incidents involving Amtrak trains have occurred in the past three months. On December 18, the inaugural train on a new route instate derailed at high speed while crossing above a highway, killing three; on January 31, the driver of a was killed in when he collided with an Amtrak train chartered to take to a retreat.
- John Bacon. "Amtrak engineer voiced concerns about dying before fatal crash, brother says" — , February 5, 2018
- "Locked switch blamed in fatal Amtrak crash" — , February 5, 2018
- Amtrak crash: Multiple deaths, scores injured after trains collide in South Carolina" — , February 5, 2016. "
- "South Carolina Amtrak crash: Two killed after trains collide" — , February 4, 2018
- Meg Kinnard, Associated Press. "Amtrak crash in South Carolina leaves 2 dead, more than 100 hurt" — , February 4, 2018
- Randall Hill. "Two dead, more than 100 injured in Amtrak crash in South Carolina" — , February 4, 2018