In Brief

Amtrak crash: derailed train was travelling at 80mph in 30mph zone

At least three dead and 72 injured after passenger carriages plunged off motorway bridge

An Amtrak passenger train that crashed off a bridge in Washington State on Monday, killing three people, was travelling at 80mph on a 30mph stretch of track, according to US investigators.

National Transport Safety Board member Bella Dinh-Zarr last night told reporters that it was "too early to tell" why the train was going so fast, or what caused it to derail.

The train was travelling from Seattle to Portland, Oregon, and was making its first-ever run along a “highly touted” new rail link when it crashed at 7:33 am local time, NBC News reports.

“Most of the route was graded for a maximum speed of 79mph,” says CNN, but “the speed limit on the curve where the crash occurred is 30mph”.

At least 72 people were taken to hospital. Of those, more than a dozen had “critical or serious injuries”, and some needed surgery, according to The Guardian.

The train was carrying 80 passengers, three crew and two service personnel, Dinh-Zarr said.

The derailment “dropped a 132-ton locomotive in the southbound lanes of the Northwest’s busiest travel corridor”, says The New York Times. Two passenger carriages also landed on the road, while others rolled down an embankment. Five cars and a pair of trucks were involved in the resulting highway pile-up, but no motorists were killed, officials said.

According to the authorities, 13 of the train’s 14 carriages came off the tracks, including one that was left dangling from the overpass and resting on a lorry below.

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