5 Feb 2018

Two dead, hundreds injured after US trains collide

7:46 am on 5 February 2018

Two train workers are dead and 116 other people injured after a passenger train and freight train collided in the US state of South Carolina.

Investigators make their way around the train wreckage under the Charleston Highway overpass where two trains collided early Sunday morning on February 4, 2018 in Cayce, South Carolina. The Amtrak train collided with a freight train.

Investigators make their way around the train wreckage under the Charleston Highway overpass where two trains collided early Sunday morning. Photo: Bob Leverone / Getty Images / AFP

The passenger train was carrying 147 people from New York to Miami when it collided with the freight train in Cayce, just outside the state capital Columbia, about 2.35am local time.

The lead engine and a number of carriages left the tracks.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster confirmed both people killed in the crash were Amtrak staff.

He said it appeared the Amtrak train had been on the wrong track at the time of the crash. No one was aboard the freight train, run by freight operator CSX, which was stationary on track at the time of the crash, he said.

It was estimated about 22,000 litres of fuel was spilled from the CSX train, but officials said there was no threat to the public.

The American Red Cross sent rescue workers to the scene of the collision, and emergency services say all passengers have been evacuated from the train.

Mr McMaster said 116 people were taken to hospital for treatment. An emergency official earlier told reporters the injuries ranged in severity from small scratches to broken bones.

A shelter was set up at a nearby school for passengers to get assistance.

Amtrak said 139 passengers and eight staff members were aboard the train.

One passenger, Derek Pettaway, told CNN he had been travelling from Philadelphia to Orlando in a sleeper cabin when he had been awoken by the impact of the crash.

The train's staff evacuated passengers in a "really calm fashion", he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the incident.

US President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and tweeted that his thoughts and prayers were with the victims.

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