At least three people have been killed and others injured after a train travelling from Los Angeles to Chicago hit a dump truck and derailed in a remote area in the US state of Missouri, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were hurt beyond the three people who died, Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) said on Monday evening.
“There are multiple injuries and we can confirm there were three fatalities – two on the train and one in the dump truck,” Justin Dunn, a spokesperson for MSHP, told reporters at a press conference.
At least eight medical helicopters were responding from around the state, Matt Daugherty, Lifeflight Eagle director of business development, told The Kansas City Star. Daugherty said he knew there were a number of injuries and some people were in critical condition.
US passenger rail company Amtrak said in a statement that the train derailed at 12:42pm local time (17:42 GMT).
It said the train was travelling eastbound from Los Angeles to Chicago when it struck “a truck that was obstructing a public crossing near Mendon, Missouri”, about 160km (100 miles) northeast of Kansas City. Approximately 243 passengers and 12 crew members were on board.
“Local authorities are currently assisting customers. Our Incident Response Team has been activated, and we are deploying emergency personnel to the scene to help support our passengers, our employees and their families with their needs,” the company said.
Helicopter video shown by KMBC-TV in Kansas City from the scene showed rail cars on their side as emergency responders used ladders to climb into one of them. The video also showed six medical helicopters parked nearby, waiting to transport patients.
Three passengers were taken to University Hospital in Columbia, hospital spokesperson Eric Maze said. He did not have information on their conditions.
Passengers on the train included high school students from Pleasant Ridge High School in Easton, Kansas, who were headed to a Future Business Leaders of America conference in Chicago, Superintendent Tim Beying told The Kansas City Star.
The train takes about two days to travel from Los Angeles to Chicago.