Train Crash Survivor: ‘We’re going way too fast to be tilting like this’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DUPONT, Wash. -- Some of the survivors of Monday's deadly train crash in Washington recounted their horrifying experiences.

"I was going around the curve. We started to tilt and you're just like, we're going way too fast to be tilting like this. The car tilted, everything started flying toward me. People started flying toward me. There was glass, smoke,"  passenger Scott Claggett said.

Patricia Freeman who spoke to a Q13 FOX reporter hours after the crash. She was visibly shaken and still had some blood on her lips.

Emegency crews work at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington. At least six people were killed when a passenger train car plunged from the bridge. The derailment also closed southbound I-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

"The train tipped and screeched and then just slammed on to its side. On the floor like a pinball and everything on that car was rubble," Freeman said.

"I felt the train leaning towards the side and then pretty much everything went dark. Things were flying around," passenger Anthony Raimondi said.

Emma Shafer told the reporter about the aftermath of the crash.

"It was really, really difficult visibility. Once you kind of got your bearings, the only light you could really see was where the two trains cars normally connect," Shafer said. "It kind of felt like the end of the world, like you just came out of a nuclear bunker and you're standing there amongst all this wreckage."

"People with scratches. Nothing serious in my car. I saw passengers from elsewhere on the train that were hurt very badly. I was in horror. Really, really scary experience," passenger Aleksander Kristiansen said.

The crash happened about 7:40 a.m. in DuPont, about 20 miles south of Tacoma, near the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Apparently, a lead engine ran off the track while crossing or approaching an open trestle over Interstate 5. The following rail cars derailed in a jumble on both sides of the track, with some falling to the highway and landing on vehicles and one rail car dangling precariously over the highway.

Several motorists in vehicles that were struck by the fallen train cars suffered injuries, but there were no fatalities among people in those vehicles, the sheriff's office said. Five cars and two semi-trucks were involved in the crash, Bova said.

The southbound train was carrying 77 passengers and seven crew members, said Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova at a news conference. Monday was the first day of the Amtrak Cascades 501 service between Seattle and Portland, Amtrak said.

At least three people died as a result of the derailment.

The train was running on track previously used for occasional freight and military transport, the Washington Department of Transportation said in a news release. WDOT said the track had undergone millions of dollars of federally funded improvements and weeks of inspection and testing.

The NTSB and local authorities have not said what caused the crash, but questions were quickly raised about the train's speed as it hit a curve.