An Amtrak train traveling through central Vermont on its way to Washington D.C. veered off track Monday after hitting a rock slide, officials said. Seven passengers on the “Vermonter” were transported to hospitals.
Gov. Peter Shumlin said that the train hit “big hunks of ledge” that had fallen on the tracks outside of Montpelier. Shumlin said that speed was not an issue in the crash.
He added that officials had not spoken to the engineer of the train, but there was no reason to believe anyone was negligent, according to the Washington Post. “There’s no belief that there’s any wrongdoing here,” Shumlin said.
He said that a train had passed through the same area with no issues Sunday night. Therefore, the rock slide and crash were “an act of nature, really beyond the control of anyone conducting the train or running the train or maintaining the track.”
The accident occurred at 10:30 a.m. ET, according to NBC News, about 10 miles south of Montepelier. Police and emergency crews visited the scene, Vermont State Police spokesman Scott Waterman said.
Four crew members and 98 passengers were aboard the train when it crashed. Authorities said that seven people were transported to hospitals, including one who was airlifted to a trauma center in New Hampshire. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening.
“We’re just grateful there was no loss of life,” Shumlin said.
The remaining passengers were taken to Norwich University, a military college that acts as a Red Cross evacuation site, by bus, according to Reuters. The train had five cars, according to Montpelier Fire Department Lieutenant Dana Huoppi, and two went down an embankment.
Passenger Ian Trupin said on Instagram that he was OK but shaken, The Post reports. He posted a photograph from the inside of one train car and showed another car in some trees down a steep hill. Another photo revealed a car atop part of the track covered in sharp rocks.
The National Transportation Safety board is launching an investigation. The governor said that the Vermonter will continue to travel north and south of the crash site and buses will fill the gap for now.
This is not the only Amtrak train to derail this year. Another Amtrak train derailed on May 12 near Philadelphia resulting in the death of eight people and more than 200 injuries.