December 18, 2017 6:29 pm
Updated: December 18, 2017 8:17 pm

‘We need EMS ASAP’: conductor tells dispatcher following Amtrak train derailment

WATCH ABOVE: Audio of radio chatter between Amtrak train, dispatcher in moments following derailment


An Amtrak train derailed on a highway overpass south of Seattle early Monday morning, leaving at least three people dead, a figure officials revised late Monday afternoon.

The train, which was travelling at speeds in excess of 80 mph, saw several of its cars spill out onto the Interstate-5 below.

READ MORE: Multiple people killed as Amtrak train derails south of Seattle

The train was carrying about 78 passengers as well as five crew members, Amtrak said in a statement.

Thirteen of the train’s 14 cars jumped the tracks, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said. Five vehicles and two trucks were involved in the accident, and the highway was littered with fragments of the bridge and tree branches.

WATCH: Multiple deaths reported in Amtrak crash

Late Monday afternoon, officials announced that more than 100 people had been transported to hospital.

It was not immediately clear what caused the train to derail. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to the site.

READ MORE: Amtrak derailment: Local mayor issued grave warning weeks before deadly incident

Train 501 was making its first ever run along the route, which was intended to provide faster service between Tacoma and Olympia.

WATCH: Aerial video of Amtrak train derailment off railway bridge

Story continues below

Just after the train derailed, the conductor spoke with dispatch, in a conversation obtained by

What follows is a transcript of the conversation:

Amtrak 501: “Emergency, emergency, emergency. We are on the ground! We are on the bridge [inaudible] on the freeway. We need EMS ASAP. It looks like they’re already starting to show up.”

Dispatcher: 501, Come in.

READ MORE: Amtrak train derailment: Here’s why trains don’t have seatbelts

Amtrak 501: Amtrak 501, answering Centralia North, over.

Dispatcher: Hey guys, what happened?

Amtrak 501: Uh, we were coming around the corner to take the bridge over I-5 there, right north into Squalie and we went on the ground.

Dispatcher: …Is everybody OK?

Amtrak 501: I’m still figuring that out. We got cars everywhere and down onto the highway.

Dispatcher: OK, Copy that. Engineer, can (you) comply with stop indications?

Amtrak 501: “This is the conductor, we can comply with the stop signal, over.”

*The conductor and dispatcher then discuss the train’s relative position on the track.*

The conversation finishes with the conductor telling the dispatcher, “as soon as I know where all my train is, I’ll let you know.

*With files from Reuters


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