LA, Chicago train derails, 29 hurt

2016-03-14 17:04
Emergency personnel work on a train that derailed near Dodge City, Kansas. (Daniel Szczerba via AP)

Emergency personnel work on a train that derailed near Dodge City, Kansas. (Daniel Szczerba via AP)

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Cimarron - At least 29 people have been taken to hospitals after an Amtrak passenger train derailed in rural southwest Kansas early on Monday, authorities said.

The train was travelling from Los Angeles to Chicago when it derailed just after midnight about 30km west of Dodge City, Amtrak said in a statement.

Grey County spokesperson Ashley Rogers said no one has life-threatening injuries.

The rail company did not say how fast the train was travelling at the time of the derailment. Amtrak did not immediately return an Associated Press call seeking comment early on Monday.

The derailment occurred near Cimarron as the train was heading east to its regular Dodge City stop. Dodge City is about 260km west of Wichita. Kansas Highway Patrol communication specialist Patricia Munford said five train cars derailed.

The Amtrak statement said about 20 people were taken for medical treatment. But Rogers said the number of people taken to hospitals in Dodge City and Garden City rose to 29 after several people sought medical attention at a community building in the small town of Cimarron. The passengers were taken to the community centre to wait for Amtrak to make arrangements to transport them to their destinations.

Amtrak statement said the train consisted of two locomotives and nine cars and that there were 128 passengers and 14 crew on board.

Rogers said she went to the scene of the derailment along a straight stretch of tracks in rural farmland. Besides seeing five cars on their sides, two other cars were standing but off the tracks. The Red Cross was at the scene providing assistance.

Amtrak said it was working with Burlington Northern Santa Fe to investigate. The National Transportation Safety Board didn't immediately return an AP phone call seeking comment early on Monday.

Rogers said the people waiting at the community centre were being offered food and coffee.

"You can tell people are tired," Rogers said. "They've had a long night."

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