GREAT FALLS — Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have arrived at the site of Saturday’s derailment of Amtrak’s Empire Builder passenger train along the Hi-Line.
It happened about three miles west of the town of Joplin.
Three people died and dozens of people were injured in the derailment. As of Sunday evening, five people were still hospitalized in stable condition, Gov. Greg Gianforte said at a news conference, adding that all others who needed medical attention have been released.
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The train consisted of two locomotives and 10 cars, with seven of the cars derailing. There is no word yet on what caused the derailment.
The NTSB is the lead agency in the investigation of the derailment, which happened at about 3:55 p.m. The NTSB team consists of 14 investigators with expertise in:
- Rail operations
- Human performance
- Signal systems
- Survival factors
- Family assistance
The team is led by Investigator-In-Charge Jim Southworth, who has more than 25 years of experience in rail investigations.
NTSB investigators expect to be at the scene for at least seven days.
An NTSB investigation typically looks not only at what occurred but why and proposes recommendations to prevent future similar tragedies.
Westbound Empire Builder 7/27 trains scheduled to depart Chicago between Sept. 26 – 28 will terminate at St. Paul – Minneapolis, MN (MSP). Eastbound Empire Builder train 8, scheduled to depart Seattle Sept. 26 – 28, will not operate between Seattle and St. Paul – Minneapolis, MN (MSP). Empire Builder train 28, departing Portland (PDX) between Sept. 26 – 28, will not operate between Portland (PDX) and St. Paul – Minneapolis, MN (MSP). No substitute transportation is currently available. Amtrak customers can contact us at 800-872-7245 to obtain additional information about the status of services. - Amtrak website