Audio Reveals Amtrak Crew's 911 Call After Derailment That Killed 3: 'Emergency! We Are on the Ground'
It was the first-ever run for the train when tragedy struck during rush hour outside Olympia, Wash.
Tragedy struck outside Washington state's capital Monday as a brand new train derailed from a highway overpass, killing at least three.
The derailment occurred after Amtrak train No. 501 left Seattle for Portland at about 6 a.m. in what the Seattle Times reports was its inaugural run on a new route.
Some 70 people were reportedly aboard the train when it derailed at about 7:40 a.m. The cause of the derailment was not immediately clear.
In audio released after the derailment, Amtrak crew members on board the train could be heard radioing for help.
"Amtrak 501, emergency, emergency, emergency. We’re on the ground. We are on the bridge on the freeway. We need EMS ASAP," one crew member says in the audio.
The dispatcher asked, "Hey guys, what happened?"
"We were coming around the corner to take the bridge over I-5 there, right north in Nisqually, and we went on the ground," the crew member responded.
When asked if everyone was OK, the official responded: "I am still figuring that out. We got cars everywhere and down onto the highway. As soon as I know exactly where all my train is, I’ll let you know."
Alex Rozier, a reporter for King 5 in Seattle, told Inside Edition he got off the train minutes before the crash.
"We were about to break another story when my producer called me and said, 'The train you were just on derailed,'" Rozier said. "It was shocking. The car we were on... is one of the ones that is in bad shape right now... so a guardian angel was watching over me."
The Washington State Department of Transportation tweeted a photo of the derailment, which shut down all southbound lanes on Interstate 5 as two mangled train cars hung down from the overpass.
Drivers who happened to be right at the site of the crash on I-5 all managed to avoid the worst, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.
"Several cars on I5 struck by derailed Amtrak train cars. Multiple motorists injured on roadway, no fatalities of motorists reported," the office tweeted.
The National Transportation Safety Board was en route to the scene as of around noon EST.
"NTSB is launching a go-team to investigate the Amtrak passenger train derailment in the state of Washington. Team will depart D.C. today. Additional information to follow when available," the agency tweeted.
The new route recently opened as part of a $181 million project that began in 2010.
"Today's tragic incident in Pierce County is a serious and ongoing emergency," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. "Trudi and I are holding in our hearts everyone on board, and are praying for the many injured. They are our top priority, and I know first responders are doing everything to ensure everyone has the care they need."
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