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3 killed when Amtrak train from L.A. to Chicago derails in Missouri

Three people were killed and at least 50 others were injured when an Amtrak train headed from Los Angeles to Chicago crashed into a cargo truck Monday afternoon in Missouri, authorities said.

Two of the dead were on the Southwest Chief train and the other was in the truck, said Cpl. Justin Dunn of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Around 12:42 p.m., the train, carrying at least 243 passengers and 12 crew members, collided with a dump truck that was blocking a public crossing southwest of Mendon, Mo. The collision derailed eight cars and two locomotives.

The crash took place at an uncontrolled intersection where the BNSF railroad tracks meet a gravel road. The crossing did not have electronic signs to warn traffic, which is common in the area, Dunn said.

At least 50 people were injured and there were “multiple fatalities” in the crash, according to Eric McKenzie, director of the Chariton County Ambulance District, which operates near Mendon. He said that he could not confirm the number of people killed.

Dozens of patients from the crash site began arriving at local hospitals, with some airlifted in critical condition, officials said.

At least three people were taken to Columbia University Hospital, said Eric Maze, a spokesman for the University of Missouri health care system. The University of Missouri Health Care said via social media that it was treating nine patients from the derailment.

Mendon is about 84 miles northeast of Kansas City.

Photos shared on social media showed multiple overturned train cars and passengers climbing out of windows.

Debris near the railroad tracks after an Amtrak passenger train derailed near Mendon, Mo.

(Dax McDonald / Associated Press)

Among them was Dax McDonald, who boarded the Southwest Chief train in Flagstaff, Arizona. Near Mendon, he looked to the right side of the train and saw a large dump truck moving in a cloud of dust.

He remembered that the train was traveling at high speed

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“Then there was a big bang and the train lurched forward,” McDonald said. “It then began to tilt to the right side before violently crashing to the ground.”

The video he posted on Twitter showed the inside of the train from the side with injured passengers rummaging through their luggage.

A passenger posted a video on Facebook Live moments after exiting the derailed passenger car.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson said in a tweet that he was “saddened” to learn of the derailment. He said the Missouri State Highway Patrol and other emergency personnel were responding.

“We ask Missourians to join us in praying for all those affected,” Parson said.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) called the news “terrible” and said authorities were “ready to assist with any federal resources that may be needed.”

“We are thinking of all those affected and grateful to the emergency personnel,” he said.

The Southwest Chief travels between Chicago and Los Angeles with stops in Kansas City, Albuquerque and Flagstaff, according to Amtrak.

The accident came a day after another Amtrak train collided with a car in California’s East Bay, killing at least three people. In that case, there were 85 people on board; the train was traveling from Stockton to Martinez when the collision occurred. According to the authorities, there were no injuries among the passengers and crew of the train.

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