WASHINGTON ― A train carrying Republican members of Congress to a legislative retreat in West Virginia collided with a garbage truck Wednesday outside Charlottesville, Virginia.
A nurse on the scene confirmed that account to Charlottesville NBC affiliate WVIR, describing one fatality and at least one person in critical condition.
The University of Virginia Medical Center said it received a total of five patients from the crash, one of whom is in critical condition:
Some lawmakers’ family members were also on the train. According to an Amtrak spokesperson, two crew members and three passengers aboard the train suffered minor injuries. An aide for Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) said the lawmaker had been taken to the hospital and was being examined for a possible concussion.
Lewis downplayed his injury in a media statement, calling his transport to the hospital standard protocol.
“I’m fine compared to, tragically, the truck drivers, and thankful for the prompt action of our doctors and first responders,” Lewis said. “My thoughts are with the family of the individual who passed away.”
Emergency medical responders are treating the scene as a hazmat situation, on account of the garbage truck’s load.
The Amtrak spokesperson said the train “came into contact with a vehicle that was on the tracks. … Local law enforcement is investigating the incident.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said it is gathering information on the accident.
Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) told Bloomberg the passengers felt “a very sudden jolt” when the collision happened, but the train remained on the tracks and slowed to a stop.
“There’s a lighted crossing guard where the train crosses,” Hill said. “The guardrails were down but the train hit the garbage truck.”
“Today’s incident was a terrible tragedy,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “We are grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene and we pray for the victims and their families. May they all be in our thoughts right now.”
Republican leadership said the retreat will continue ― albeit with a security briefing first and a prayer for those involved in the incident.
President Donald Trump spoke to Ryan, who was aboard the train, via telephone, and “is continuing to be updated on the situation.”
A number of lawmakers who were on the train shared their stories on social media.