An Amtrak passenger train apparently traveling on the wrong track collided with a parked CSX Corp freight train in South Carolina on Sunday, killing two crew members and injuring at least 116 in the railroad’s third fatal crash in as many months, authorities said.
Amtrak Train 91 was carrying 139 passengers and eight crew members to Miami from New York when it hit the freight train at about 2:35 a.m. local time (0735 GMT) near the state capital and derailed, the railroad said in a statement.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said it appeared that the Amtrak train was on the wrong track when it slammed into the parked CSX freight train, which had no one aboard.
“It’s a horrible thing to see, to understand what force was involved,” McMaster told a news conference. “The first engine of the freight train was torn up, and the single engine of the passenger train is barely recognizable.”
The southbound passenger train’s locomotive was lying on its side, and the first car was bent and also derailed, although it remained upright, according to images from the scene in the small city of Cayce, South Carolina.
At least four cars of the freight train, which was northbound before it was parked, were crumpled, looking like crushed tin foil, but remained on the tracks.
The passenger train was part of Amtrak’ Silver Star Service, and the wreck occurred about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Columbia, the state capital. Local media said some 5,000 gallons of fuel leaked as a result of the collision, but authorities said it was under control and no threat to public safety.
Identities of the two Amtrak employees killed were withheld pending notification of their families, officials said.