At least seven people were killed when an Amtrak train headed for New York City derailed and rolled over in Philadelphia on Tuesday. More then 200 were injured in the accident.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, Mayor Michael Nutter said, “It is an absolute disastrous mess. Never seen anything like this in my life.”
Those injured were taken to Temple University Hospital, Aria Health-Frankford, Hahnemann University Hospital and the Albert Einstein Medical Center, according to NBC Philadelphia. Six people are in critical condition.
Train 188, which had left Washington, D.C., derailed at 9:45 p.m.
We are aware of the derailment of Northeast Regional train 188 north of Philadelphia and will provide updates as they become available.
— Amtrak (@Amtrak) May 13, 2015
Firefighters and rescue workers went from one car to the other to help passengers off the train.
Paul Cheung, an Associate Press manager, said that the train began slowing down, like “someone had slammed the brake.”
He said, “Then suddenly you could see everything starting to shake. You could see people’s stuff flying over me.
“The front of the train is really mangled. It’s a complete wreck. The whole thing is like a pile of metal.”
Word of the accident quickly spread on social media. Philadelphia Police asked the public not to go near the scene of the accident.
Attn: Public – Do NOT go to scene of derailment. Please allow 1st responders room to work
— Philadelphia Police (@PhillyPolice) May 13, 2015
Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was aboard the train when it crashed, said, “It wobbled at first and then went off the tracks. There were some pretty banged-up people. One guy next to me was passed out. We kicked out the window in the top of the train car and helped get everyone out.”
He shared a photograph on Twitter.
Another individual posted a video of the rescue in process on Instagram.
Max Helfman, of Watchung, New Jersey, said he and his mother were in the last car of the train when the felt train shake. It then flipped over.
He said, “People were thrown to the ground. Chairs inside the train became unscrewed and suitcases were falling on people. My mother flew into me and I literally had to catch her. People were bleeding from their head. It was awful.”
He added that he saw smoke after the car rolled over.
The train was traveling at a speed of 106 miles per hour when the driver slammed on the emergency brakes, causing the train to flip over. The maximum permissible speed on that curve, in the Port Richmond section of the city, is 50 miles per hour, less than half of what the train was traveling at. According to Robert Sumwalt, the National Transportation Safety Board member leading the investigation, the speed limit on the straightaway leading to the curve was 80 miles per hour; however, the Federal Railroad Administration said it was 70.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived at the scene, though there were no indications that the derailment was a result of an act or terrorism, according to CNN.
Another deadly derailment had occurred at almost the same location 71 years ago.
The trains between Philadelphia and New York City have been suspended for the night. SEPTA regional rail service on the Chestnut Hill West and Trenton Regional Rail lines has also been put on hold until further notice. According to a SEPTA official, there is a possibility that the Trenton Line may remain suspended throughout Wednesday and the remainder of the work week.