Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told news media that there were fatalities on the train and that motorists had been injured, but not killed. The extent of the injuries is not yet known.
The southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were completely blocked by the train.
Chris Thomas, spokesman for Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, said that his hospital had received about a dozen patients as of 9:25 a.m.
“We’ve had three critical patients out of about a dozen that we’ve received so far,” Thomas said.
As the wreck occurred in between Olympia and Tacoma, emergency medical responders were transporting patients to various area hospitals, he said.
“Because traffic is so backed up, a lot of the EMS responders are taking patients to hospitals in Tacoma,” Thomas said.
Madigan Army Medical Center was serving as the primary hospital receiving patients from the train wreck, a spokeswoman said, though as of 9 a.m., the army hospital had not released information on the number of patients received.
“We don’t have any information at the moment; we’re gathering it,” said Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Amtrak tweeted that it was train No. 501 on an inaugural run, which left Seattle for Portland at 6 a.m., that derailed.
According to WSDOT, the train was running down a new bypass created to avoid slow curves and “single track tunnels on the BNSF Railway main line tracks near Point Defiance and along southern Puget Sound.”