Three dead, dozens injured after Amtrak train derailed in Montana

Three dead, dozens injured after Amtrak train derailed in Montana
© Greg Nash

At least three people have died and dozens of others are injured after an Amtrak train that travels between Seattle and Chicago derailed in north-central Montana late Saturday afternoon. 

Amtrak said in a statement to The Hill that seven cars of its Empire Builder train derailed near the small town of Joplin, located about 200 miles north of Helena, around 4 p.m. local time. 

The railroad service said there were an estimated 146 passengers and 16 crew members on board, noting that injuries were reported. 


“Amtrak will provide additional details as they are available,” the company told The Hill. 

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to The New York Times, CNN and other news outlets that three people had been confirmed dead. 

While the sheriff’s office did not initially provide an exact figure on the number of injuries, Amanda Frickel, the disaster and emergency services coordinator for Hill County, Mont., told the Times that “well over” 50 people were injured. 

The Hill has reached out to the sheriff’s office for additional information. 

Footage from the derailment shared on social media showed people helping passengers still on board the train as the derailed cars laid tilted on the ground next to the railroad track. 

Frickel told the Times that first responders from six nearby counties were called to the scene, with at least five hospitals on call ready to receive injured passengers. 

“Everybody who is alive has been extricated from the wreck,” she said. 

The Times reported that authorities were planning to place people in nearby hotels once any medical needs have been addressed. 

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R) said that state highway patrol troopers were assisting with rescue operations, adding that state leaders were “praying for the safety of all passengers and crew who were on board.” 

Montana Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes Manchin threatens 'zero' spending in blowup with Sanders: reports GOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill MORE (D) tweeted that he was “closely monitoring” the derailment, adding, “I have been in touch with Amtrak as we work to learn more and my thoughts are with all the passengers, crew, and first responders on the scene.” 

Amtrak told The Hill that due to the derailment, certain Empire Builder trains in the area would be cancelled or have their routes altered Saturday and Sunday, with customers encouraged to call the company's service line for additional information on updates.