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40 hospitalized after Amtrak train collides, derails

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — An Amtrak passenger train derailed after crashing into a tractor trailer truck in North Carolina on Monday, sending some 40 passengers to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, state officials said.

The train, carrying more than 200 passengers, was traveling from Charlotte, North Carolina, to New York when it hit a truck that had been hauling heavy equipment and apparently got stuck on tracks in Halifax County near the Virginia border, said Heather Joyner, communications director of the county’s Emergency 911.

The train’s engine and baggage car derailed, but the 40 people transported to local hospitals escaped with minor injuries, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a statement.

The truck driver was believed to be uninjured, Joyner said.

Amtrak said in a statement it was monitoring the situation and an investigation was ongoing.

“Our concerns are with passengers and crew,” the company said on Twitter, noting there were 212 passengers and eight crew members on the train at the time of the incident.

In a call reporting the collision to emergency dispatchers, an unidentified woman described the scene in a calm but shocked tone.

“Oh my God, I mean the 18-wheeler is completely turned over,” she said. “The Amtrak is derailed. It’s still upright.”

The woman told the dispatcher the railroad crossroad lights were still blinking.

“I mean, he was stuck on the track,” she said, referring to the truck driver. “He couldn’t get the truck off.”

Television images showed passengers getting off the train with their luggage and boarding buses waiting to take them from the scene.

Train passenger Charlotte Story, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told WRAL television that she never heard a whistle and could not tell if the train had tried to slow down before the crash.

“There was a massive jerk and we were kind of thrown forward a little bit, and the train came to a sudden stop,” she said, according to the television report.

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