Even as search and rescue personnel had not yet been inside all the derailed Amtrak passenger cars that wrecked near DuPont this morning before 8 a.m., authorities confirmed there are multiple persons dead, apparently all of them riders or crew on the train.
Seventy-seven passengers and five crew members were riding a celebratory “first trip” for Amtrak Cascades on its new route taking a more inland path, instead of the historic waterfront rail lines through Tacoma Narrows.
The service, technically an operation of Washington state and Oregon’s transportation departments’ joint initiative that uses Amtrak crews, had 12 coaches and two engines – all but one left the tracks – and some fell far below the railway bridge, landing on trucks and cars using the I-5 freeway.
A mass casualty plan was triggered to integrate up to half a dozen local hospitals in the South Sound, including Madigan Army Medical Center just a few miles away, which received 20 injured persons, nine of them considered in serious condition.
St. Peter Hospital in Olympia received 10 victims and pushed three into morning surgery suites for treatment.
Pierce County’s Hazmat Response team was to access the site this afternoon, checking for battery and fuel spills.