At least two people are dead and more than 100 injured after a passenger train slammed into a freight train in the US state of South Carolina.
Amtrak’s Silver Star was on its way from New York to Miami with eight crew members and about 140 passengers at around 2.45am on Sunday local time when it ploughed into a CSX freight train at about 95km/h, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said.
The wreck took place near a switchyard about 16km south of Columbia in Lexington County.
Amtrak has experienced a horror year with five fatalities in rail mishaps in just over a month.
Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill, 116 people were injured and transported to local hospitals, with injuries ranging from scratches to broken bones.
Mr McMasterr said investigators have yet to determine how the Amtrak train ended up on the same stretch of track as the stationary CSX freight train.
“The CSX was on the track it was supposed to be on,” the Governor said.
The National Transportation Safety Board has sent investigators.
The main trauma hospital in the area had three patients in critical or serious condition, with the rest treated for minor injuries such as cuts, bruises and whiplash, Palmetto Health director of emergency preparedness Dr Steve Shelton said.
Drone footage showed the locomotives of both trains crumpled, with the Amtrak engine on its side. One car in the middle of the Amtrak train was snapped in half, bent like a V.
“It’s a horrible thing to see, to understand the force involved,” Mr McMaster said after touring the scene.
Amtrak officials gathered up luggage and other belongings and within hours put passengers aboard buses to their destinations.
Before being sent on their way, those who were not hurt were taken to a shelter, and local businesses provided coffee and breakfast.
“We know they are shaken up quite a bit. We know this is like nothing else they have ever been through. So we wanted to get them out of the cold, get them out of the weather – get them to a warm place,” sheriff’s spokesman Adam Myrick said.
About 20,000 litres of fuel were spilled, authorities estimated, but Mr Cahill told CNN there was “no threat to the public at the time.”
The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation.
US President offered his “thoughts and prayers” to the crash victims.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims involved in this mornings train collision in South Carolina. Thank you to our incredible First Responders for the work they’ve done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2018
On Wednesday, a chartered Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress to a strategy retreat slammed into a garbage truck at a crossing in rural Virginia, killing one person in the truck and injuring six others.
On December 18, an Amtrak train ran off the rails along a curve during its inaugural run on a route south of Tacoma, Washington, killing three people and injuring dozens.
– With AAP