At least five dead in Philadelphia train crash
An Amtrak passenger train with more than 200 passengers on board derailed in north Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing at least five people and injuring dozens of others, several of them critically, authorities said.
Authorities said they had no idea what caused the train wreck, which left some rail cars ripped open and strewn upside down and on their sides in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood along the Delaware River.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told a news conference that at least five people were killed in the accident. Fire officials said more than 50 others were taken to area hospitals, six of them critically injured.
Several Philadelphia-area hospitals collectively reported treating more than 100 patients from the wreck.
"It's an absolute disastrous mess," Nutter said. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told reporters that rescue personnel were using "a large number of tourniquets" in treating the injured. At least one area hospital spokeswoman said many of their patients were suffering from lacerations.
Amtrak said there were 238 passengers and five crew members aboard the derailed No. 188 train on route from Washington, D.C., to New York. Seven cars, including the engine, left the tracks, according to mayor.
Rescue workers survey the wreckage after an Amtrak passenger train derailed in Philadelphia
The national government-backed passenger rail line provided no other details about the circumstances of the accident. It said Amtrak service along its busy Northeast corridor between New York and Philadelphia had been suspended.
CNN quoted the Federal Bureau of Investigation as saying there was no indication that terrorism may have been a factor in the derailment. Three law enforcement officials contacted by Reuters also said they have not encountered anything suspicious. The weather was fair at the time of the crash.
"We do not know what happened here. We do not know why this happened," Nutter told reporters. "There's no information about that."
Television footage broadcast on MSNBC showed dozens of emergency workers scrambling around the wreckage with flashlights, with train cars strewn about in a zig-zag pattern. Photos from the scene showed emergency personnel loading injured people onto stretchers and backboards.
Former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was a passenger on the train, told MSNBC that the cafe car he was riding in flipped over, but he escaped with minor cuts and bruises.
He estimated the train was traveling at about 60 or 70 miles per hour when "all of a sudden, it went off the rails."
U.S. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware had been on the train but got off at Wilmington, Delaware, before the crash, he said in a Twitter message.
A nurse who was a passenger on the train told CNN she was sitting with her son in the last car when a huge red suitcase came flying at her, striking her in the chest, as the train turned on its side.
"There's many, many injured people on the train, and they're very, very upset," she said, adding that she may have suffered a fractured rib.
She said her son went back and helped other passengers escape from the overturned car through a small opening in the wreckage.
Port Richmond is a working-class neighborhood that has recently become a popular place to live among younger adults in the city.
Sharon Achuff, 51, who lives along the tracks about 200 yards (meters) from the wreck, said she was sitting on her front stoop when she saw a bright, flashing blue light, followed by a loud boom.
In a video posted on social media, passengers could be heard crying and others were telling victims to crawl forward.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on its Twitter account that it was "currently gathering information" regarding the derailment.
The crash was the latest in a series of rail accidents on heavily traveled passenger train routes over the past year.
In March, 21 people were injured in Los Angeles when a commuter train struck a car that turned in front of it, a month after 50 people were hurt and an engineer fatally injured when a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train struck a pickup truck.
In February, six people were killed and a dozen injured when the Metro North commuter train they were riding in north of New York City hit a car stalled on the tracks during rush hour. The driver of the vehicle also died.