3 dead and dozens injured

At least three people were killed and dozens more injured after an Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago with 243 passengers on board hit a dump truck on Monday and derailed in rural Missouri, authorities said, the second major incident in two days for passenger railway maintenance.

Amtrak said several cars on the company’s Southwest Chief train went off the track after colliding with a dump truck at 12:42 a.m. in Mendon, Missouri, about 140 miles northeast of Kansas City. Seven of the train’s eight carriages derailed, Cpl said. Justin Dunn, an information officer for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, at a news conference Monday.

Dunn confirmed that two people died on the train and one died in the truck.

Lieutenant Eric Brown of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said he had “no idea at this time of the number of injured.” Still, hospitals reported receiving more than 40 patients from the crash and expected more.

Brown told reporters that the crash occurred at an “uncontrolled intersection” on a dirt road with no lights or electronic controls. “Many of your rural intersections are that way,” he said.

Mike Spencer, who grows corn and soybeans on land around the intersection where the accident happened, said everyone in Mendon understands the intersection is dangerous, especially for those who drive heavy, slow farm equipment. He said the approach to the tracks is on a sloping gravel road,, and it is difficult to see trains coming in either direction.

Spencer said he had contacted state carriers, Chariton County commissioners, and BNSF Railway about the potential danger. Spencer, who serves on the board of a local charging district, said the dump truck driver was hauling rock for a fee on a local creek, a project underway for several days.

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The National Transportation Safety Board said it launched a 14-person go team to investigate Monday’s derailment.

It’s too early to speculate why the truck was on the tracks, said Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. A team of NTSB investigators will arrive Tuesday, she said. She added that trains won’t be able to run on the tracks “in a matter of days” while collecting evidence.

Helicopter video from KMBC-TV’s Kansas City location showed train cars on their sides as emergency services used ladders to climb into one of them. Six medical helicopters parked nearby were ready to transport patients.

Dunn said that nearly 20 local and state law enforcement agencies, ambulance services, fire departments, and medical hopefuls responded.

Armstrong, director of national media relations for the Boy Scouts of America. Passengers on the train were 16 youths and eight adults of two Boy Scouts on their way home to Appleton, Wisconsin, after a backcountry excursion at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Still, no one in the group was seriously injured, Scott said. Armstrong said that the Scouts provided first aid to several injured passengers, including the dump truck driver.

High school students from Pleasant Ridge High School in Easton, Kansas, who were on their way to a Future Business Leaders of America conference in Chicago, were also on board, Superintendent Tim Beying told The Kansas City Star.

Amtrak is a federally supported company that operates over 300 passenger trains daily in nearly every contiguous US state and part of Canada. The Southwest Chief takes about two days to travel from Los Angeles to Chicago, picking up passengers at stopovers.

The accident comes a day after a fatal crash in Brentwood, California, where an Amtrak commuter train collided with a vehicle at an unmarked crosswalk. According to the California Highway Patrol, three people in the car were killed and three others injured, but none of the 80 Amtrak passengers were injured.

Contributions: The Associated Press

Denis J. Graham
I have always been an avid reader, but after graduating college and getting into the job market, I decided to start writing because it was a good tool to help me express myself. As someone passionate about traveling, I hope to inspire others to get out there and see the world. I write about travel, books, fashion, beauty, and more.