A train crash in the United States has left at least five people dead and around 50 injured, some critically.
We could feel it off the tracks and we just rolled and rolled. The next thing I knew is that we were pushing out the emergency exit. I was outside and there were people screaming and bleeding
At least seven carriages came off the tracks in Philadelphia – a witness said one had been bent into an L-shape.
The Amtrak train had been travelling from Washington heading for New York when it came off the rails in the of Port Richmond district.
Emergency services used ladders to straddle the wreckage and torches to search for survivors in the dark.
“I’ve been down on the tracks on the scene and with my staff. It is an absolute disastrous mess. Never seen anything like this in my life and most personnel would say that as well,” said the Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter.
The authorities said 238 passengers and five crew members were on board the train.
Dozens of people were taken to hospital. Survivors described scenes of panic and chaos as the train derailed.
“We could feel it off the tracks and we just rolled and rolled. The next thing I knew is that we were pushing out the emergency exit. I was outside and there were people screaming and bleeding and we helped them out and they are ok now,” said one male passenger.
The cause of the crash is not known. The National Transportation Safety Board said it had launched a “go-team” to investigate the crash and that they were gathering information.
The train is said to have derailed on a bend and one passenger estimated it was travelling at about 100 kilometres an hour.
The weather was said to be fair and the FBI has been quoted as saying there is no evidence of terrorism.
The US has had several rail accidents in the past year.
In March, 21 people were injured in Los Angeles when a commuter train struck a car that turned in front of it, a month after 50 people were hurt and an engineer fatally injured when a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train struck a pickup truck.
In February, six people were killed and a dozen injured when the Metro North commuter train they were riding in north of New York City hit a car stalled on the tracks during rush hour. The driver of the vehicle also died.
Amtrak is a national publicly funded rail service, serving tens of millions of people every year.