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Passengers Trapped in Amtrak Crash

April 18, 2002

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CRESCENT CITY, Fla. (AP) _ An Amtrak train from suburban Orlando to the Washington, D.C.-area derailed Thursday, trapping 75 people, a sheriff’s dispatcher said.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla, said National Transportation Safety Board officials told him at least three people were killed. In Washington, NTSB spokesman Greg Martin said he could not confirm that account.

Television helicopter shots showed railcars on their sides scattered along the tracks. Firefighters, carrying backboards, climbed through windows to get inside the cars.

Ambulances and emergency vehicles crowded a road nearby, and school buses were taking passengers away from the scene.

The train carried more than 400 passengers, Amtrak said.

The train consisted of 2 engines, 16 passenger cars and 23 auto racks. Ten train cars derailed,a Putnam County sheriff’s dispatcher said.

The NTSB is sending investigators to the scene later Thursday, Martin said.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. The train was scheduled to leave Sanford at 4 p.m. It derailed after 5 p.m. about 40 miles out of Sanford.

The Auto Train carries automobiles and passengers between Sanford and Lorton, Va. It is a favorite among families traveling between Florida theme parks and beaches and Washington landmarks.

The tracks are owned, operated and maintained by CSX Corporation, according to Amtrak.

Crescent City is 61 miles north of Orlando.

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Family and friends who want to inquire about passengers can call Amtrak at (800) 523-9101.

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