Two people were killed in a crash involving a freight train and an Amtrak passenger train early Sunday in South Carolina, authorities said.
Amtrak Train 91 was traveling between New York and Miami with 147 people aboard when it collided with a CSX freight train in Cayce at about 2:35 a.m., derailing the lead engine and some passenger cars, Amtrak said in a statement.
According to Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill, 116 people were injured and transported to local hospitals, with injuries ranging from scratches to broken bones. Officials had initially said 70 people with injuries were transported to hospitals for treatment, but later adjusted the figure.
The CSX train was stationary on the tracks, “awaiting a later movement,” when the collision occurred, Gov. Henry McMaster said in a press conference Sunday morning. It’s not believed anyone was on that train.
Both individuals killed were Amtrak personnel, McMaster said.
Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher released the names of the deceased at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
Michael Kempf, the 54-year-old train engineer from Savannah, Georgia, was killed in the crash, she said. The 36-year-old conductor, Michael Cella, of Orange Park, Florida, also died.
The families have been notified, Fisher said.
About 5,000 gallons of fuel were spilled, authorities estimated, but Cahill said there was “no threat to the public at the time.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation.
Robert Sumwalt, the NTSB chairman, told CNN that an NTSB team will arrive in South Carolina Sunday morning to begin the investigation, which should take 12 to 18 months.
Investigators will hold a press conference Sunday afternoon, Sumwalt said.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the accident, according to a statement from White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters.
“My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims involved in this mornings train collision in South Carolina,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Sunday afternoon. “Thank you to our incredible First Responders for the work they’ve done!”
Derek Pettaway was a passenger in one of the train’s rear cars, headed for Orlando, he told CNN on Sunday morning. He was awoken by the impact, and the crew came through the cars “really quickly” and got everybody off the train.
“Nobody was panicking,” Pettaway said. “I think people were more in shock than anything else.”
Pettaway was discharged from a hospital with minor whiplash, he said. From there, he went to a shelter for passengers who didn’t suffer serious injuries at Pine Ridge Middle School.
Sunday’s was just the latest fatal incident involving an Amtrak train in the past few weeks.
In December, an Amtrak train derailed near DuPont in Washington state and hurtled off an overpass onto Interstate 5, killing three people. The Amtrak engineer on that train told investigators he mistook a signal and braked moments before the deadly crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Last week, an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a truck near Charlottesville, Virginia. Investigators looking into the crash are focusing on the actions of the driver of a truck, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
In mid-January, a pastor and his wife were killed in Nash County in North Carolina when their SUV was hit by an Amtrak train, according to CNN affiliate WNCN.