Amtrak train derailment witness who helped victims describes scene at deadly crash

The southbound lanes of I-5 were blocked near Mounts Road in Pierce county after a train derailed from an overpass on Monday morning Dec. 18 2017

An Amtrak train derailed on Monday during its inaugural run on a faster route from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, sending passenger cars tumbling from a bridge onto a major highway, killing at least three people and injuring about 100 others.

Seventy-seven people were transported to hospitals in Pierce and Thurston counties, the Tacoma-based healthcare network CHI Franciscan Health said, including four "level red" patients with the most severe injuries.

Amtrak Cascades passenger trains going through Tacoma would usually take a route along the shores of Puget Sound.

It was the first day of the train's service on this route.

Survivor Chris Karnes said the train had passed the city of DuPont when he heard "rocking and creaking".

Train cars toppled off of a bridge onto the interstate below.

Amtrak train 501 was part of a service that launched Monday morning.

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It was not immediately clear whether the derailment, which came during a busy travel time one week before the Christmas holiday, was connected to the rerouting.

A footage of a local TV showed that at least one rail vehicle fell off a bridge over a traffic-clogged highway.

Karnes said that people had escaped the wreckage by kicking out windows.

US President Donald Trump tweeted that the incident shows "more than ever" why his infrastructure plan "must be approved quickly".

A website that maps location and speed using data from Amtrak's train tracker app showed the train was going 81.1 miles per hour (129 kph) about a quarter of a mile from the point where it derailed, where the speed limit is significantly lower.

The incident marks Amtrak's second derailment in Washington State this year.

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