PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Residents in the Port Richmond neighborhood where an Amtrak train derailed Tuesday night are describing the scene of the tragic incident.
“The railroad runs along next to that warehouse, and there’s a curve,” says neighbor Scott Lauman. “And it looks like the engine just kept going straight right off the curve, right down the hill and all of the cars just followed with it. And the engine was all the way over into the train yard.”
The train was headed from Washington D.C. to New York when it jumped the tracks at Frankford Junction around 9 p.m. All seven cars, including the engine, derailed, some flipping on their sides.
“It hit power lines, there was a pedestrian bridge that it hit and knocked the support out of, so the bridge is hanging down,” Lauman says. “Three cars were laying on their side, one car was kind of sticking up in the air. I was there for about two hours and I just saw them. They were pulling people, just lifeless.”
Around 240 people were on board the at the time of the crash. At least six were killed and at least 140 others were injured. Lauman, though, says the scene could have been a whole lot worse.
“It missed that parked tanker by maybe fifty yards,” he says. “While I was standing up there for about an hour, an Amtrak guy came by and he was telling me it turns out those tankers are full, and if that engine would’ve hit that tanker it would’ve set off an explosion like no other. So out of the whole tragedy, the one good thing is that it missed it.”
The National Transportation Safety Board was on scene investigating the cause of the derailment.