An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass today south of Seattle and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people.
The death toll was expected to rise.
78 passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed on a route that had raised safety concerns.
At least 50 people were hospitalized, more than a dozen with critical or serious injuries.
An official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Seattle. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The train was making the inaugural run on the new route as part of a $180.7 million project designed to speed up service by removing passenger trains from a route along Puget Sound that’s bogged down by curves, single-track tunnels and freight traffic.
The National Transportation Safety Board said a team of investigators was on its way to the scene from Washington, D.C.
U.S. President Donald Trump used the deadly derailment to call for more infrastructure spending in a tweet sent about three hours after the accident.