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Packed Amtrak train derails in Arizona

amtrak graphic

Serious injuries reported

August 9, 1997
Web posted at: 12:13 p.m. EDT (1613 GMT)

KINGMAN, Arizona (CNN) -- An Amtrak train carrying up to 300 people slammed into a bridge and derailed in northwestern Arizona as it sped along the tracks at 90 mph early Saturday morning. Authorities said there were dozens of injuries, many of them severe.

Initial wire service reports said that at least eight people were killed, but local police said no deaths had been confirmed. Mojave County Sheriff's office spokeswoman Jody Schanaman said there were between 15 to 50 people with serious or critical injuries and another 90 people with minor to major injuries.

"Our main concern is getting the injured to treatment," said Schanaman.

Amtrak derailment details -- Jody Schanaman, spokeswoman from Mojave County Sheriff's office in Arizona
icon Summary of the latest update
416 K/34 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
icon Inclement weather may have contributed to the crash
224 K/15 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

She said all area emergency medical personnel were called to assist in rescue efforts. The crash site was only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles due to heavy rains that doused the region overnight, Schanaman said.

Officials said the bridge may have buckled from the heavy rains.

The train, The Southwest Chief, derailed 13 miles east of Kingman on a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe line, said Don Thompson, chief of the railroad safety office of Arizona. The train was traveling east from Los Angeles to Chicago.

route map of Amtrak train
95 train crash

Thunderstorms passed through during the night, causing flooding that blocked some roads in and around Kingman, a city of about 12,000 people. Two motorists had to be rescued by helicopter from a flooded wash near the city.

Amtrak has yet to comment on the crash.

On October 9, 1995, an Amtrak train hit a section of vandalized track and toppled 30 feet from a trestle in the desert 55 miles southwest of Phoenix. A 41-year-old sleeping car attendant was killed and 78 other people were injured.

The most recent Amtrak derailment was January 13, when a train en route to Seattle from Chicago derailed in Wyoming, injuring eight passengers.


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