Officials say at least three people are dead after an Amtrak passenger train headed for Portland derailed off an overpass onto Interstate 5 near Tacoma, Wash. (UPDATE, 7:45 pm: An earlier Associated Press report said six people were killed, but the official estimate is now three.)
The trip was the first journey for the Amtrak Cascades along a new route designed to speed up train travel in the Northwest. The $181 million project began in 2010, reports the Seattle Times.
The inaugural trip—complete with commemorative passes and buttons—left Seattle for Portland shortly after 6 am on Monday, Dec. 18. The crash occurred around 7:30 am, shortly after the train left the Tacoma station.
Chris Karnes, a train enthusiast from Tacoma, told the Times that he was riding the train to Portland to do Christmas shopping with his boyfriend. He felt the train lurch, then his car—the third or fourth on the train—flew off an embankment.
"We could hear crumpling and crashing and screaming from people," Karnes told the Times. "The lights went out."
The identities of those killed in the crash have not yet been released.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a state of emergency. Oregon officials quickly offered words of support.
"Our thoughts are with the victims and families of today's tragic event," wrote Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Twitter. "We are monitoring the situation closely and would like to extend a sincere thank you to the first responders as well as those managing the situation."
President Donald Trump also opined, saying that the crash showed that the U.S. needs to repair its infrastructure.
Read live updates from the Tacoma News Tribune here.