At least two people were killed and 70 injured early Sunday when an Amtrak passenger train collided with a CSX freight train in South Carolina — the third deadly wreck involving Amtrak in less than two months.
Amtrak Train 91 heading from New York to Miami appeared to be on the wrong track, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said at a news conference.
“They weren’t supposed to be meeting like that, clearly,” he said. “It appears that Amtrak was on the wrong track.”
McMaster said it seems the CSX train was on the track it was supposed to be on.
The wreck occurred at 2:35 a.m. in Cayce, S.C., about 10 miles south of Columbia, according to Derrec Becker of South Carolina Emergency Management.
Both fatalities were Amtrak employees on the passenger train, McMaster said.
The CSX train was parked on what appears to be a side track when the Amtrak train slammed into it at about 59 mph, McMaster said. Of the 139 people on the Amtrak train, 116 people were taken to hospitals, he said. Eight were Amtrak employees.
“Our information — and this is subject to correction — is that this was not the main (train) line,” McMaster said. “This was a loading track for a sidetrack — where the collision took place.”
He described the freight train engines as “all torn up,” and the Amtrak engine as “barely recognizable” from the impact.
One of the injured was in critical condition, and two were listed as serious, with the rest havibng minor injuries like cuts and bruises, said Steve Shelton, Palmetto health director of emergency preparedness.