‘People on our left flew across and hit us’: Survivors of Amtrak horror smash that killed three reveal chaos as train derailed and tipped on its side: Scouts on board helped rescue mission including teen who comforted trucker before he died
- An Amtrak train derailed after colliding with a dump truck at a public crossing in Mendon, Missouri, yesterday
- Three people were confirmed dead, including two on the train and one in the dump truck, officials said
- At least 50 people on the train were injured, several of which were rushed to hospital with severe injuries
- Crash occurred at 12.42pm CT at an uncontrolled crossing about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City
- Survivors have told of the chaos that unfolded inside the cars as they skidded off the tracks and turned over
- Boy Scouts traveling on the train heroically administered first aid and helped passengers to safety
Three people were confirmed dead in the crash – two on the train and one in the dump truck – after the train’s eight cars and its two locomotives derailed when they collided with the truck, which was blocking a public crossing according to Cpl. Justin Dunn of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
More than 50 people were injured in the crash, at least nine of whom were rushed to a University of Missouri Health Care hospital in Columbia with severe injuries, the Chariton County Ambulance Service said.
Rob Nightingale said he was dozing off in his sleeper compartment when the lights flickered and the train rocked back and forth.
‘It was like slow motion. Then all of a sudden I felt it tip my way. I saw the ground coming toward my window, and all the debris and dust,’ Nightingale said.
‘Then it sat on its side and it was complete silence. I sat there and didn’t hear anything. Then I heard a little girl next door crying.’
Nightingale was unhurt in the crash, and he and other passengers were able to climb out of the overturned train car through a window.
The collision completely destroyed the dump truck in the collision, he said.
‘It was all over the tracks,’ said Nightingale, an art gallery owner from Taos, New Mexico, who said he rides Amtrak regularly to Chicago.
Passenger Dian Couture was in the dining car with her husband celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary when she heard a loud noise and the train wobbled and then crashed onto its side.
‘The people on our left-hand side flew across and hit us, and then we were standing on the windows on the right-hand side of the car,’ Couture told WDAF-TV.
‘Two gentlemen in the front came up, stacked a bunch of things and popped out the window and literally pulled us out by our hands.’
Passengers included 16 youths and eight adults from two Boy Scout troops who were traveling home to Appleton, Wisconsin, after a backcountry excursion at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
No one in the group was seriously injured, said Scott Armstrong, director of national media relations for the Boy Scouts of America. The Scouts administered first aid to several injured passengers, including the driver of the dump truck who ultimately died of his injuries, Armstrong said.
Appleton Troop 73 Scout Master Dan Skrypczak told the New York Post that his 15-year-old son Eli rushed to the driver and comforted him as he died.
Skrypczak said of his son: ‘He was pretty upset, he wishes he could have done more.
‘Just trying to explain to him, you get hit by a high speed train, nobody could’ve done much for the truck driver. He did everything he could, he did the right thing, he provided comfort and aid.’
Cheryl Benjamin, a passenger who was on her way home to East Lansing, Michigan when the accident occurred, confirmed that the Boy Scouts on board helped her climb out of the train and onto the ground. She was spending Monday evening in a local high school gym, where community members had brought in food for the passengers as they waited for buses to take them to hotels.
Shocking photos taken in the immediate aftermath of the train wreck show a female passenger being helped out of a window, while others were seen atop overturned cars.
Missouri officials have declared a ‘large fatality event’ after an Amtrak train collided with a dump truck at a public railroad crossing and overturned
An Amtrak train which derailed after striking a dump truck is seen beyond a corn field Monday, near Mendon, Missouri
The Southwest Chief Train 4, which was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago, collided with the truck that was obstructing the public crossing and came off the tracks at Mendon in Missouri around 12:42 p.m. CT Monday
A worker looks over the decimated remnants of a dump truck that that was struck by an Amtrak train, causing it to derail
The derailment is seen in an aerial image. The federal National Transportation Safety Board is deploying a 14-member ‘go-team’ to the site of the derailment to investigate
The collision occurred at the uncontrolled Porch Prairie Avenue gravel road crossing, which has no electronic warning devices or gates, officials said
Rob Nightingale, one of the train passengers, went live on Facebook, showing the aftermath of the accident as the passengers awkwardly prop themselves against the side of the toppled over train car, and avoid stepping on glass
The wreck occurred at 12.42pm CT yesterday, when the Southwest Chief Train 4 collided with a truck that was obstructing a public crossing and came off the tracks near Mendon, Missouri, about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City, Amtrak confirmed to DailyMail.com.
The collision occurred at the uncontrolled Porch Prairie Avenue gravel road crossing, which has no electronic warning devices or gates, officials said.
Amtrak said in a statement that there were 243 passengers and 12 crew members aboard at the time of the crash. State troopers said the total number of people on the train may have been lower, but estimated that it was at least 200.
The federal National Transportation Safety Board deployed a 14-member ‘go-team’ to the site of the derailment to investigate, while State Highway Patrol Lt. Eric Brown said there was still an ‘active and ongoing investigation at the scene’ yesterday evening, confirming that all the injured had been transported to area hospitals.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement that he was ‘saddened by the tragic loss of life and injuries in the Missouri train derailment today,’ adding that Federal Railroad Administration staff would support the investigation.
‘We ask Missourians to join us in praying for all those impacted,’ Missouri Governor Mike Parson said on Twitter.
Journalist Nylah Burton, who was on a separate Amtrak train set to depart Albuquerque, says she was informed of the possible deaths and injuries by a staff member who came into her car to announce a delay caused by the incident.
She tweeted: ‘An @Amtrak train just derailed in Kansas City (there are likely fatalities but they don’t know all the details) so I’m stuck in Albuquerque tonight because the train can’t go any further.’
A Twitter user called Durand shared the shocking snaps, saying: ‘Oh no.. #Amtrak derailment somewhere in #Missouri.’
Amtrak confirmed to DailyMail.com that multiple injuries were reported, but no additional details were released.
The Amtrak train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it collided with a dump truck at a public crossing in Mendon, Missouri and derailed from the tracks. Mendon is about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City, Missouri
Survivors of an Amtrak crash in Missouri shared a photo of themselves atop the overturned train
A broken truck axle was photographed close to the track in the aftermath. It’s still unclear why the truck was in the crossing
One person in the dump truck, presumed to be the driver, was killed in the collision. The truck’s chassis is seen above
Amtrak said in a statement that there were 243 passengers and 12 crew members aboard at the time of the crash
One passenger tweeted that the survivors (above) took refuge at a local high school in Mendon, Missouri, writing: ‘So thankful for the people here, safely at the Northwestern high school near Mendon. This town pulled together to help everyone’
Amtrak tweeted that the Southwest Chief Train 3, which was scheduled to depart Chicago, was canceled.
Amtrak asks passengers whose travel plans are affected to contact 1-800-USA-RAIL for further assistance.
Individuals with questions about their friends and family who were traveling aboard the derailed train should call 1-800-523-9101.
The derailment came one day after another Amtrak train collided with a car at a crossing in Brentwood, California, on Sunday afternoon, killing three women, and injuring several others.
Three women, all over the age of 50, were pronounced dead at the scene in Sunday’s crash, according to The Mercury News.
Authorities say the car pulled into a long rural dirt driveway near the intersection of Orwood Road and Bixler Road around 1pm when the Amtrak train rammed into it.
The car then careened off the road and hit another vehicle.
A child and two men were also hospitalized with serious injuries, and another person suffered from moderate injuries.
In total, a spokeswoman for BNSF Railway told the New York Times there were ‘approximately’ five people injured, though the number remains in dispute.
On Sunday (above), three women were killed and four others were injured in a separate crash when an Amtrak train slammed into a car at around 1pm in Brentwood, California.
Authorities say the car careened off the road following the impact and hit another vehicle in Sunday’s crash (above)
Those who were seriously wounded were rushed to the John Muir Medical Center after the crash on Sunday afternoon, according to ABC News. One of the adults was airlifted and the child was transported by the ground, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The victims were all inside the four-door sedan when it was struck, officials say, and Battalion Chief Craig Auzenne, of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, told reporters at the scene that none of the 81 passenger or five crew members on board the train were injured.
In fact, he said, the train came to a stop about a quarter-mile from where the sedan slammed into an SUV.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
But East Contra Costa Fire Department officials say they’d already been called out to that train crossing twice last year because it does not have a traffic guard.
‘It’s a bad crossing,’ Steve Aubert, a fire marshal said, noting that trains travel at about 80mph on the tracks.
‘It’s just a recipe for disaster unfortunately.’
An Amtrak passenger train also derailed in north central Montana in September. Three people were killed.
Other Amtrak derailments and crashes in recent years
An Amtrak passenger train struck a dump truck Monday at an uncontrolled crossing in a rural area of Missouri killing two people on the train and one in the truck. Others were injured. The crash happened just after noon near Mendon, Missouri. Several cars derailed. The train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago.
The crash came a day after three people were killed when an Amtrak train smashed into a car in California killing three people in the vehicle.
Here’s a look at other recent Amtrak accidents:
June 26, 2022: Three people in a car were killed when an Amtrak commuter train smashed into their vehicle in Northern California. No one in the train was injured.
Sept. 26, 2021: Three people died and others were injured when an Amtrak derailed in north-central Montana as it traveled from Chicago to Seattle.
September 2021: Three people died and others were injured when an Amtrak derailed in north-central Montana as it traveled from Chicago to Seattle
Dec. 18, 2017: Three people were killed and 10 seriously injured in a derailment near Olympia, Washington, in which part of the train landed on Interstate 5. The train was traveling more than 80 mph during its inaugural run of a newly opened, faster rail line when it left the tracks.
April 3, 2016: Two maintenance workers were struck and killed by train going more than 100 mph in Chester, Pennsylvania. The lead engine of the train derailed.
March 14, 2016: A train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed in southwest Kansas, injuring at least 32 people. Investigators concluded a cattle feed delivery truck hit the track and shifted it at least a foot before the derailment.
Oct. 5, 2015: A train headed from Vermont to Washington, D.C., derailed when it hit rocks that had fallen onto the track from a ledge. Seven people were injured.
May 12, 2015: A train traveling at twice the 50 mph speed limit derailed as it entered a sharp curve in Philadelphia. Eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured.