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derailed train

At least one dead, 100-plus injured in Amtrak derailment

October 9, 1995
Web posted at: 8:30 a.m. EDT

HYDER, Arizona (CNN) -- At least one person was killed and dozens injured when an Amtrak passenger train derailed in the southwest Arizona desert early Monday. Authorities said tampering may be involved. "We do suspect there is tampering but that is under investigation," George Anderson of the Arizona Department of Public Safety told CNN (187K AIFF sound or 187K WAV sound). "The engineer reported he saw something and it is being investigated as a criminal incident by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department." Anderson said he did not know what the engineer saw, or whether it was on the tracks or on the train.

Early reports said at least 100 people were injured. Seven were said to be in critical condition, but most of the injuries were thought to be minor. The train was headed from Miami, Florida, to Los Angeles carrying 248 passengers and a crew of 12.

The derailment occurred about 1:30 a.m. EDT in a remote desert area 60 to 80 miles southwest of Phoenix. "This is rough terrain, and it's almost impossible to get equipment in there on the ground," Anderson said. Rescue equipment is being flown in. At least 12 medivac helicopters were being sent to the scene, some from as far away as Payson, Arizona, about 80 miles northeast of Phoenix. The Phoenix Fire Department dispatched its search and rescue team. Officials at Davis Montham Air Force Base reportedly have offered the services of a large medical transport capable of carrying up to 40 people.

The derailed passenger train had 12 cars and two engines, all of which left the tracks, according to Rob Borela, an Amtrak spokesman in Washington. He said two sleeper cars and a dining car are believed to have tumbled off a 30-foot trestle into a ravine. Rescue personnel at the scene requested ropes and ladders.

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AP contributed to this report.