Officials are investigating whether an unreported vehicle crash may have damaged the railroad tracks before an Amtrak train derailed in Kansas on Monday morning.
An engineer noticed a significant bend in a rail ahead and hit the
emergency brakes before the passenger train derailed, a government official told the Associated Press. The train appeared to have been traveling at about 75 miles when the engineer pulled the emergency break.
Gray County sheriff's Deputy J.G. Sharp said there was a separate vehicle accident that may have damaged the rails, and
authorities were examining tire tracks leading to the train tracks and preserving the scene with crime scene tape.
Sharp said the damage doesn't appear to have been intentional.
Amtrak said 32 people involved in the derailment were taken to hospitals for treatment and that 29 had been released by late morning.
The Southwest Chief 4 train derailed approximately 20 miles west of Dodge City shortly after midnight local time.
Amtrak said that there were 128 passengers and 14 crew members on board the train, which was en route to Chicago from Los Angeles.
The Kansas Highway Patrol confirmed that five train cars were on their side and the derailment had forced the closure of U.S. Highway 50. Amtrak said the train had two locomotives and nine cars.
Kelsey Wilson, 21, said she was traveling on the train to return to Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, when she was awoken early Monday. Wilson, of Pueblo, Colorado, said she hit her head as the car became disconnected and overturned.
Wilson said she escaped through the top of the flipped car and then slid down the side. She said she then "passed out" and was among the people listed as injured and taken to hospitals for treatment. She was released with a neck brace.
Her traveling companion, 21-year-old Daniel Aiken, of Lenexa, Kansas, said he heard people scream. He said he and Wilson calmed down when they realized the train "wasn't going to blow up."
Susan Morgan, the mother of one of the passengers, told KAKE-TV that her daughter had to be helped out of the train after it began shaking while traveling 75 miles per hour.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.