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Amtrak Train Derails Near Boise, Injuring 15

November 23, 1993

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ An Amtrak train derailed near Boise early today, injuring 15 people, none seriously, authorities said.

Police said the engines and front cars on the Seattle-to-Chicago train derailed as the train hit a curve east of town. The train, which had six cars and two engines, did not roll over but the derailed sections were tilted.

Fifteen people were treated at two hospitals for minor fractures, cuts and bruises. One of them, an 80-year-old man, was admitted in good condition with a back injury.

″People just kind of got bumped and jerked around,″ said supervisor Kim Cluff at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. ″There’ll be some sore people for a while, but thankfully there were no major injuries.″

Amtrak spokesman Howard Robertson said there was no indication what caused the derailment of the Pioneer, which had 230 people aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

″It was just a big flash of light; I thought I was going to hell,″ said Sandy Keller, 18, of Coos Bay, Ore. ″I heard a big shake and felt a big boom. I’m not stepping on another train - ever.″

Ticket agent Joe Beaver said the train left Boise at 12:20 a.m., and would have been going about 50 mph at the site where the accident occurred.

It was snowing, so uninjured passengers were taken to a nearby warehouse for shelter. Officials said some were later put on a bus to Salt Lake City while others were put up at a motel until luggage was recovered and alternate travel arrangements made.

As much as 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled, but it did not pose an environmental threat, officials said.

Peter Zitel, 18, of Tacoma, Wash., was in the sleeping car right behind the second engine.

″I heard some screeching and then it started tilting,″ he said. ″I looked out the window and said, ’This isn’t happening to me.‴

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