A simple chartered train transporting Republican lawmakers to a retreat had an accident and crashed in Virginia into a trash truck, leaving at least one individual dead.
There was one confirmed fatal case and another individual badly injured, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
In a statement, she reported “There are no serious injuries among members of Congress or their staff.” The identity of the victim for some reason has yet to be released.
The train was headed for a “retreat” in West Virginia, transporting Senate and House Republicans when it hit this truck and they found themselves in a strange accident. But if a train hit a truck, I can’t imagine that the person in the truck survived.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida said:
“We were on our way to West Virginia and it was a sudden impact, a loud noise and everyone was jolted.”
One member of government reportedly suffered a concussion, and was taken to a local hospital: Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota, but a senior leadership source from the train noted he did not sustain a terribly serious injury.
An Amtrak statement noted that the incident occurred at 11:20 am in Crozet, Virginia.
“Two Amtrak crew members and two passengers were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. Local law enforcement is investigating the incident,” the statement noted.
Officials responded as they usually do, and the National Transportation Safety Board said it sent what they call a “Go-Team” to the scene of the event.
One person reported feeling a big impact during the accident, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, and then he said he walked over to help an injured person. He was with his 18 year old son and wife in one of the front cars of the train.
He said “I knew there were going to be bad injuries, so I worked my way back thinking they might need people to help carry people to ambulances, and they did,” he said, admitting it was a “terrible scene.”
He added he noticed that one person died “who they worked on for quite a while while I was there and we were tending to the other injured person.”
According to NBC News:
“Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who was traveling with his wife, described the accident scene as “a mess,” with trash strewn up to 80 yards away.
“The truck is completely smashed,” Sessions told MSNBC.
The crossing where the crash occurred was equipped with flashing lights as well as gates on both sides of the track, sources told NBC News.
Texas Rep. Michael Burgess said on MSNBC shortly after that “both of the crossing arms were down” by the time he had exited the train and it did appear “the lights were functional.”
Several lawmakers tweeted about the incident and said they were uninjured.”
The crash must have been serious because the train was holding some of the people in the most openly powerful figurehead positions in the US government currently.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was even on the train, but he wasn’t injured. Ryan spoke about it on Twitter and called it a terrible tragedy.
Today’s incident was a terrible tragedy. We are grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene and we pray for the victims and their families. May they all be in our thoughts right now.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) January 31, 2018
Trump is in the mix, speaking to Ryan and he received an update about the situation.
Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged it and tweeted that he was also getting updated about the crash.
“Praying for all involved grateful for the swift action of first responders,” he said.
Getting regular updates on the Amtrak crash involving members of Congress and their families. Praying for all involved & grateful for the swift action of first responders. @POTUS and I will continue to monitor closely. I’m heading to WV later today.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 31, 2018
Then, the Vice President is going to address the retreat dinner.