A train carrying Republican lawmakers to their GOP retreat in West Virginia collided with a dump truck in the crossing grade on Wednesday, according to several GOP aides and lawmakers.
No major injuries have been reported on the train, which crashed in Crozet, Va., about 15 miles outside Charlottesville, but lawmakers said that at least one person who was in the truck had died while two others sustained injuries.
President Trump spoke to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) by phone and is receiving regular updates on the crash, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Ryan was on the train but was not injured, according to his office.
“There is one confirmed fatality and one serious injury. There are no serious injuries among members of Congress or their staff. Senior Administration officials are in regular contact with Amtrak and state and local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident,” Sanders said in a statement.
First responders were on the scene treating minor injuries on the train and treating more serious injuries on the ground, while some lawmakers who are also doctors raced to get off the train and help administer medical assistance.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said on CNN that there appeared to be at least one fatality on the truck, which was “close to demolished.”
“Stunning scene. Totally unexpected,” Cole said.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) described a “hard” collision and said he was “thankful the train was able to stay on the tracks.”
Some members on the train “hit the deck” upon impact, causing a “couple of bumps and bruises,” according to aides.
Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.), who was on the train, told Fox News that he had whiplash and possibly a minor concussion.
The impact “threw a lot of people’s heads into the seats … people who were in the aisle fell down. You have some minor injuries but as far as I am aware they were just that.”
Pictures from the scene show a crumpled truck lying on the ground with trash strewn everywhere. Several lawmakers took to Twitter following the crash to let the public know they were safe.
Amtrak said the chartered train departed Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday morning and crashed into another vehicle on the tracks about 11:20 a.m. in Crozet.
“There are no reported injuries to passengers or crew members. Local law enforcement is investigating the incident and crews are inspecting equipment for damage,” Amtrak said in a statement.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it has launched a go-team to investigate the crash.
Both House and Senate members were on the train, including some spouses, children and staff members, though it’s unclear how many. Zeldin said not everyone in the GOP conference was on the train, but “close to it.”
Buses were en route to pick up the stranded lawmakers, though it’s unclear whether the retreat will go on as planned. The three-day annual gathering was scheduled to kick off Wednesday evening, with appearances from Trump, Vice President Pence and several Cabinet members slated throughout the rest of the week.
Lawmakers said some of their colleagues with medical backgrounds jumped off the train to help injured passengers on the truck.
“They were actually the first person on the scene as far as I could tell. … They were the first ones rendering assistance,” Cole said. “They were administering CPR to the folks who had been hurt in the crash.”