Six killed, 200 injured in train crash in US

Amtrak crash site
Amtrak crash site

An Amtrak passenger train derailed in Philadelphia, an accident that Barack Obama has called 'a tragedy'.

Some passengers climbed out of windows to get away, and Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, who confirmed the deaths, said the scene was horrific.

"It is an absolute disastrous mess," he said. "Never seen anything like this in my life."

Train 188, a Northeast Regional, had left Washington, DC and was heading to New York City. The front of the train was going into a turn when it shook.

An Associated Press manager, Paul Cheung, was on the train and said he was watching Netflix when "the train started to decelerate, like someone had slammed the brake".

He said: "Then suddenly you could see everything starting to shake. You could see people's stuff flying over me."

He said another passenger urged him to escape from the back of his carriage, which he did. He said he saw passengers trying to escape through the windows of carriages tipped on their side.

"The front of the train is really mangled," he said. "It's a complete wreck. The whole thing is like a pile of metal."

The cause of the derailment was unknown, but Amtrak said it was investigating. The area where the derailment occurred is known as Frankford Junction and has a big curve.

Police swarming around the crash site, in Port Richmond, a working-class area, told people to get back, away from the train. They pleaded with curious onlookers: "Do NOT go to scene of derailment. Please allow 1st responders room to work."

Roads all around the crash site were blocked off. Waves of firefighters continued toward the train carriages, taking people out.

Several injured people, including one man complaining of neck pain, were rolled away on stretchers. Others wobbled while walking away or were put on city buses. An elderly woman was given oxygen. Dozens of people were taken to hospital.

Former US Representative Patrick Murphy was on the train and said he helped people. He tweeted photos of firefighters helping other people in the wreckage.

"Pray for those injured," he said.

In a statement, the President barack Obama said he and the first lady were "shocked and deeply saddened" to hear of the derailment.

Mr Obama added he is offering prayers to the families who lost loved ones and the passengers beginning to recover.

The Northeast Regional carrying 238 passengers and five crew members derailed in Philadelphia shortly before 9pm local time yesterday.

The accident has closed the busiest US rail corridor as investigators try to determine what happened.

Mr Obama said: "Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is a way of life for many."

He also commended first responders for their tireless efforts to save lives.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was gathering information about the derailment. It said it was launching an investigative team, which would arrive at site this morning.

Another Amtrak train crashed on Sunday. That train, bound for New Orleans, struck a flatbed truck at a railway crossing in Amite, killing the truck's driver and injuring two people on the train.

In March, at least 55 people were injured when an Amtrak train collided with a tractor-trailer that was stuck on the tracks in North Carolina.