- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

An Amtrak train traveling from Washington to New York derailed Tuesday night in the northeastern part of Philadelphia, killing six people and injuring almost 60 others.

The Philadelphia Fire Department said 10 cars had derailed on the 2000 block of Wheatsheaf Lane.

“We can confirm at least five individuals deceased,” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told a press conference around 11:40 p.m.

On Wednesday morning, CNN reported that a sixth person had died.

The mayor said he had visited the site and called it “an absolute disastrous mess.”

Seven cars including the engine were completely off the tracks, Mr. Nutter said, adding that the cause was not determined.

PHOTOS: Amtrak train from D.C. derails in Philadelphia

“We do not know what happened; we do not know why this happened,” the mayor said.

Philadelphia fire officials said six people were critically injured, 53 more were transported to area hospitals with lesser injuries, and there were numerous walking wounded.

However the mayor, in an interview Wednesday morning on CNN, added that he “cannot say definitively” that no other bodies or casualties would be found.

“Our personnel have done a variety of sweeps,” he said, but added that manifests still needed to be checked against.

The Associated Press, citing an employee who was aboard, said the front of the train was going into a turn when it shook “in a flash second.” The front of the train “looks pretty bad,” Paul Cheung told the AP.

Passenger Beth Davidz told Fox News that while she was fine, “the two cars in front of me sustained a lot more damage.”

SEE ALSO: Commuter train struck minutes before Amtrak crash

Multiple ambulances and fire engines were on the scene in the Port Richmond neighborhood. Philadelphia police told people to stay away from the site.

“Do NOT go to scene of derailment. Please allow 1st responders room to work,” the Philadelphia PD said on its Twitter feed.

The mayor said 120 firefighters and 200 police officers were involved in the four-alarm response, which he characterized as a “level three mass casualty” event.

Amtrak said 238 passengers and five crew members were on board Northeast Regional Train 188, which is not the high-speed Acela Express, although they share the same lines.

The fact the train was within the city’s limits and not far from the main Amtrak station means it likely wasn’t traveling at high speeds, but there is a sharp curve called Frankford Junction in the area.

Multiple passengers told CNN early Wednesday that the ride was entirely normal until suddenly it wasn’t.

Despite his emphasis that the cause was unknown, Mr. Nutter did emphatically tell CNN that there was nothing to support the earliest speculation — a crash with a CSX freight train.

“There is no indication there was any other train involved,” he said.

CSX already had denied that any of its fright cars were damaged or involved.

Amtrak set up a hotline for people to request information about relatives and friends who may have been on the train, at 800/523-9101.

By 10 p.m. the derailment was already causing delays on both commuter and Amtrak lines in the area, which are some of the nation’s busiest passenger railroads. Amtrak canceled all Northeast Corridor service between New York and Philadelphia just after 11 p.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was gathering information on the crash and had sent an investigative team that would arrive at the site Wednesday morning. The FBI said just after 11 p.m. that there was no immediate indication of terrorist involvement.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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