CIMARRON, Kan. (AP) — The latest news on an Amtrak passenger train that derailed in western Kansas. (all times local):
A federal transportation official says the condition of the track will be the focus of the investigation into an Amtrak derailment in Kansas. Earl Weener is part of the National Transportation Safety Board. He says it's too soon to know what caused the derailment and that the train was traveling at the normal speed limit. Weener says there was some initial indication of a "misalignment" on the rail. But he says it's unclear what that was or what caused it. He also says the engineer was vigilant and noticed a variation on the track, causing him to brake. The track was inspected last week. Investigators will also review recorded data from the train.
Authorities say they're investigating whether an unreported vehicle crash may have damaged the railroad tracks before an Amtrak train derailed in southwest Kansas. Gray County sheriff's Deputy J.G. Sharp says there was a separate vehicle accident that may have damaged the rails before the passenger train derailed early Monday outside Cimarron. A few people remain hospitalized. Authorities are examining tire tracks leading to the train tracks and preserving the scene with crime scene tape, he said. He says the damage doesn't appear to have been intentional. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived at scene.
Passengers on an Amtrak train that derailed in western Kansas say they feared for their lives. Dave Gibbs, of Colorado says he was headed to Lawrence, Kansas, for a possible chef's job when he felt the train "rattling back and forth" early Monday. He says the shaking lasted several seconds before the train began tipping, then coming to an abrupt stop that sent a woman tumbling into him. Fifty-seven-year-old David Tisdale, of Arizona, says he was "waiting for the worst" and was afraid he was "going to die." At least 32 people were injured in the derailment, which happened near Cimarron, a rural community about 160 miles west of Wichita. Nearly all of the injured were treated and released, but two are in critical condition.
Officials say two of the people injured when a passenger train derailed in western Kansas are in critical condition. Caytie Martin, a spokeswoman for the Northwest Texas Healthcare System, says the two were airlifted to the Amarillo, Texas, hospital after the early Monday derailment near Cimarron, a rural community about 160 miles west of Wichita. Amtrak says 32 people were treated at hospitals and nearly all of them had been released by late morning. A hospital in Dodge City says it admitted a patient who is in stable condition and a hospital in Garden City says it admitted a patient in good condition. The train with 131 passengers and 14 crew members was headed from Los Angeles to Chicago. An Amtrak spokesman says one crew member was treated at the scene.
A government official says an engineer noticed a significant bend in a rail ahead and hit the emergency brakes before a passenger train derailed in western Kansas. The U.S. official who was briefed on the investigation into the early Monday derailment of the Amtrak train says the train appears to have been travelling at about 75 mph when the engineer pulled the emergency brake, slowing the train. The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing federal probe. Amtrak says 32 people were taken to hospitals for treatment and that 29 had been released by late morning. The train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago.
Some passengers aboard an Amtrak train that derailed early Monday in southwestern Kansas, injuring 29, say they heard odd noises from the train shortly before the time it left the tracks. Timothy Davidson of Nashville, Tennessee, said he and others aboard the train heard what he called "a lot of clacking for about 20 minutes" before the accident, as if something came off the train. He says the train just "didn't sound right." Derek Kemp, who is moving back to Kansas City, Missouri, from California, says he was in a bathroom on the train and using a smart phone app he says tracks the speed of trains. He says the app showed the train consistently traveling 85 to 90 mph in the hours leading to the accident. Amtrak says the train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it derailed just after midnight about 20 miles west of Dodge City. Amtrak says the train had about 128 passengers and 14 crew members on board.
A passenger aboard an Amtrak train that derailed in southwest Kansas says he felt "shaking" and realized something was "definitely wrong" when it stopped. KWCH-TV reports that Daniel Szczerba (SUHR'-buh) said he was in the front of the train when it derailed early Monday about 20 miles west of Dodge City. Amtrak says the train had about 128 passengers and 14 crew members on board. He says that when he got out, he saw several trains in the back on their sides. Szczerba says that even though emergency responders arrived quickly to the scene, it was still chaotic for passengers. He says many were wandering around searching for relatives after becoming separated from them while making their way out of emergency exits.
Federal investigators are headed to the scene of an Amtrak train derailment in southwest Kansas. National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway says the agency is sending a team to investigate Monday's derailment. He says more information will be released once the team arrives in Kansas. An Amtrak statement says the train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it derailed just after midnight about 20 miles west of Dodge City. Amtrak says the train had about 128 passengers and 14 crew member on board. Kansas Highway Patrol communication specialist Patricia Munford says five train cars are on their side. Gray County spokeswoman Ashley Rogers says 29 people were hurt but that none have life-threatening injuries.
An Amtrak passenger recalls feeling "shaking" before her car and several others overturned in southwest Kansas. Twenty-one-year-old Kelsey Wilson says she was traveling on the train to return to Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, when she was awoken early Monday. Wilson, of Pueblo, Colorado, says she hit her head as the car became disconnected and overturned about 20 miles west of Dodge City. She says she escaped through the top of the flipped car and then slid down the side. She said she then "passed out" and was among at least 29 people taken to hospitals for treatment. She was released with a neck brace. Her traveling companion, 21-year-old Daniel Aiken, of Lenexa, Kansas, says he heard people scream. He said they calmed down when they realized the train "wasn't going to blow up."
Authorities say 29 people have been taken to hospitals after an Amtrak train derailed in rural southwest Kansas. Grey County spokeswoman Ashley Rogers says of the 29 people hurt, none has life-threatening injuries. An Amtrak statement says the train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago early Monday when it derailed just after midnight about 20 miles west of Dodge City. Amtrak says the train had about 128 passengers and 14 crew members on board. Rogers says she went to the scene and saw five cars on their sides and two others that were off the tracks but still standing. She says buses and ambulances have taken the passengers who are not hurt to a community building in the small town of Cimarron to wait while Amtrak makes arrangements to take them to their destinations.