TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — An Amtrak train derailed south of Seattle on Monday, and authorities reported "injuries and casualties."
The train derailed about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Seattle before 8 a.m., spilling at least one train car on to busy Interstate 5.
The high-speed train was making its first run on newly constructed tracks when it derailed before 8 a.m. Monday.
Amtrak says there were approximately 78 passengers and five crew members on board.
Ed Troyer, a spokesman with the Pierce County Sheriff's office, said multiple people were killed aboard the train that was heading south. As of 10:40 a.m., at least six people were killed and the death count is expected to rise, according to a U.S. official.
The official who was briefed on the investigation also says preliminary signs indicate the Amtrak train may have struck something on the track before going off the track.
The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The sheriff's office said several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by the falling train cars and "multiple motorists" were injured on the roadways. No fatalities of motorists were reported.
All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and motorists were being warned to avoid the area.
Chris Karnes was on the train, three or four cars back from the front.
"I'm not sure what got hit. I'm not sure what happened," Karnes said.
He was unhurt but near the medical tents set up in a median area between north- and sound-bound I-5, just south of DuPont.
"The only car that is on the tracks is the rear locomotive. There are several cars that are hanging over the overpass," Karnes said.
In a statement Amtrak said the train that derailed was Train 501, offering service from Seattle to Portland.
"Emergency services are on the scene and Amtrak management is responding. Some injuries are reported," Amtrak said.