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Amtrak Train Crashes in South Carolina;Two Fatalities and More Than 100 Injured

Amtrak Train Crashes in South Carolina;Two Fatalities and More Than 100 Injured”

"They paid good money and you got good benefits", he said. McMaster said at the Sunday press conference there were several train tracks at the location of the collision.

The injured were transported to local hospitals, Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill said. They have been identified as 54-year-old Michael Kempf, an Amtrak engineer from Savannah, Georgia, and 36-year-old Michael Cella, the train's conductor, from Orange Park, Florida.

An Amtrak train was traveling south from NY to Miami early Sunday when it collided with a freight train. He said proven technology such as positive train control can not continue to be delayed.

Richard Anderson, Amtrak CEO and president, told CNN's Rene Marsh that the signal system along the section of track where the crash occurred was down and the tracks were being manually controlled by CSX. "CSX controls the dispatching of all trains, including directing the signal systems which control the access to sidings and yards", the statement said.

McMaster said it appeared the Amtrak train was on the wrong track, although an investigation would determine the precise cause.

Walking with a limp, hours later, the Pamlico County, North Carolina, resident said he was dazed and didn't even know where he was when the train finally came to a complete stop. Richard Blumenthal of CT said the nation's railroads must be made safer, declaring, "Business as usual must end". The passenger train was traveling between NY and Miami, Amtrak said in a statement, when it "came in contact with a CSX freight train at around 2:35 a.m".

Investigators recovered a camera from the front of the Amtrak train and were looking for the data recorders from the two trains. The CSX freight train engine was also damaged considerably.

Authorities said the freight train spilled 5,000 gallons of fuel, but hazmat teams were dispatched to the scene and determined the leak was not a danger to the public. The cause is under investigation; nearby residents have said the crossing arms had been known to malfunction. Investigators are still examining what caused a December 18 derailment on an overpass between Seattle and Portland, Ore., killing three.

"My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims involved in this mornings train collision in South Carolina", Trump wrote in a tweet on Sunday afternoon.

"We got bumped into the wall from the impact and the train derailed", she told NBC via Twitter.

Pettaway said officials reacted swiftly and passengers were led off quickly.

"I'm pretty sure everybody was asleep and I think people were in shock". More than 31 million riders a year ago reached more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, the company said.

Fisher added that given the size of the trains involved and how many people were aboard the Amtrak, "You would have expected more fatalities". There were 8 crew members and approximately 139 passengers.

Three fatal crashes of Amtrak trains in as many months are raising serious concerns about rail safety nationwide.

Just four days ago, a lorry driver was killed when his vehicle was hit by a train carrying lawmakers in Virginia.

- June 24, 2011: A truck slammed into the side of an Amtrak California Zephyr train at a rural crossing 70 miles east of Reno, Nevada, killing six people and injuring dozens.

The Amtrak train was on the wrong track, according to McMaster. It appears the SUV had driven around the lowered crossing arm, WNCN reported.



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