Amtrak train derails in western Kansas, more than 20 passengers injured

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GRAY COUNTY, Kansas – An Amtrak train derailed just after midnight in Gray County with more than 140 people on board. More than 20 people were injured. Five cars are on their side and at one point US-50 was shutdown from Garden City to Cimarron.

Both the Gray County Sheriff’s Department and Amtrak have confirmed it was the Southwest Chief train that was headed for Chicago from Los Angeles.

After the accident, Gray County called on several surrounding emergency responders to help.

“We transported 30 patients out of this incident to Garden and to Dodge City. We had fire departments here and rescues here from Montezuma, Copland, Ingalls, and Cimmarron, Garden City. We brought ambulances in from Garden City and from Montezuma, Cimmaron and Dodge City. We also brought a helicopter in from life team which landed on the highway to transport one of the patients out,” said Rex Beemer, Gray County Assistant Manager, rural fire coordinator

Western Kansas Medical Center tells KSN it is treating 10 patients in the ER with more to come. So far, the hospital says it is not treating any critical injuries or fatalities. Some patients were also taken to St. Catherine in Garden City. It is treating 11 patients all with minor injuries.

Amtrak passenger Sally Canning said that she was waiting in a community shelter and was given a green arm band to signify that she was not injured.

Amtrak sent this statement after the derailment:

“Just after midnight CT, Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 4, operating from Los Angeles to Chicago, derailed several coaches approximately 20 miles west of Dodge City, Kan., on track owned and maintained by BNSF. There were approximately 128 passengers and 14 crew members on board the train that had two locomotives and nine cars. Local emergency responders provided on-site response, with approximately 11 passengers transported to Western Plains Hospital in Dodge City.

All other passengers were transported to the 4-H Recreation Center in Cimarron and will be provided alternate transportation to their final destination. The Red Cross and other relief agencies are on-site providing assistance to those passengers.We are working with BNSF to investigate the cause of the incident.

Amtrak Southwest Chief Train 3, operating from Chicago to Los Angeles will detour from Newton, Kan., to Albuquerque, N.M., for trains originating March 13 and 14. Alternate transportation is being arranged.”

Red Cross is also assisting. They sent the following statement:

At the request of the emergency manager, a team of seven #RedCross disaster responders are supporting passengers that were on board a train that has derailed by handing out blankets, hydration and snacks to passengers. Our team will continue to work with emergency officials to give help and hope to those affected by this incident.”

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