Amtrak derailment: At least 3 killed and several injured in Montana

The train had about 146 passengers and 16 crew members onboard

At least three people died on Saturday when an Amtrak train that runs between Seattle and Chicago derailed in north-central Montana.

Several people were injured, AP reported.

The Empire Builder train derailed at about 4pm near Joplin, about 48 kilometres from the border with Canada.

The train had about 146 passengers and 16 crew members on board. Seven of the train's 10 cars derailed.

Megan Vandervest, a passenger on the train who was going to visit a friend in Seattle, said she was awakened by the derailment.

“My first thought was that we were derailing because, to be honest, I have anxiety and I had heard stories about trains derailing,” said Vandervest, who is from Minneapolis. “My second thought was that’s crazy. We wouldn’t be derailing. Like, that doesn’t happen.”

She said the car behind hers was tilted, the one behind that had tipped over, and the three cars behind that “had completely fallen off the tracks and were detached from the train.”

Speaking from the Liberty County Senior Centre, where passengers were being taken, Ms Vandervest said it felt like “extreme turbulence on a plane.”

Amtrak was working with the local authorities to transport injured passengers and safely remove all other passengers.

The US National Transportation Safety Board was expected to send a 14-member team, including investigators and specialists in railway signals and other disciplines, to investigate the crash.

Photos on social media showed several cars on their sides. Passengers were standing alongside the tracks, some carrying luggage.

The images showed sunny skies, and it appeared the accident occurred along a straight section of tracks.

Amtrak said that, because of the derailment, the Sunday westbound Empire Builder would end its journey in Minneapolis, and the Sunday eastbound Empire Builder train service would depart from the city.

Updated: September 26th 2021, 5:40 AM