A U.S. official confirmed that the train derailment outside of Seattle has killed at least six people, reported AP. They added that the death count is expected to rise.
The official, who was briefed on the investigation, also added that preliminary signs indicate the Amtrak train may have struck something on the track before derailing.
However, the official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. They spoke to AP on the condition of remaking anonymous.
This was the high-speed train's first run on newly constructed tracks. The route runs between Seattle and Portland. It derailed before 8 a.m. Monday.
President Trump responded to the tragedy by underscoring the importance of maintaining America's infrastructure. He issued his first statement via Twitter.
"The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!"
However, the official who spoke to AP said that it's unlikely that it was a maintenance issue because the tracks were new.
Minutes later, President Trump added his condolences to those involved in the crash. He also commended those who are dealing with the aftermath of the crash.
"My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington," tweeted the POTUS. "Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White House."
Local authorities had warned that the higher speed service could be dangerous. The mayor of Lakewood, Washington, a city along the route, predicted a deadly crash. However, he thought it’d involve a fast-moving train hitting a car or pedestrian at a crossing.
AP noted that according to Transitdocs.com, a website that maps Amtrak train locations and speeds using data from the railroad’s train tracker app, Train 501 was going 81.1 mph moments before the derailment Monday.
The state Department of Transportation said the maximum speed along that stretch of track is 79 mph.
Amtrak issued a statement, confirming that there were 78 passengers and five crew on the train. They said people injured had been taken to local medical facilities.
Please pray for everyone involved in this deadly crash. Here are more details of the crash.