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Three people are dead, five remain hospitalized after an Amtrak train derailed in Montana

 Cleanup efforts underway the day after an Amtrak train derailed near Joplin Montana on September 25, 2021.
Josh Margolis
Hi-Line Today
Cleanup efforts underway the day after an Amtrak train derailed near Joplin Montana on September 25, 2021.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte Sunday toured the north-central Montana site where an Amtrak passenger train derailed this weekend, killing three and hospitalizing five.

Gov. Gianforte says the five passengers who remain hospitalized in Montana are in stable condition. He says all of the roughly 150 remaining passengers have been treated and released from regional medical centers.

According to Liberty County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Sarah Robbin, hospitals in the region were able to care for injured passengers despite being stressed by COVID patients.

“We had calls from all over the region saying ‘we have beds. We can send an ambulance.’ As far as beds, they were open and willing.”

During Sunday’s news conference, streamed live by Havre-based KPQX Radio, Gianforte praised Hi-Line first responders and civilians alike for their unified response.

“Rescue teams and ambulances from Chinook and Browning down to Great Falls lined up at the incident site and outside the ER to assist. Community members brought food and supplies. Other community members voluntarily provided airport trips to Great Falls or Kalispell to strangers so that family members could be reunited with the ones that they love.”

BNSF owns the railway along the Hi-Line. According to a BNSF spokesperson, the track was last inspected Sept. 23.

The rail company is coordinating with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration’s investigation. Officials say they won't comment on the potential cause of the derailment while the investigation is underway.

The railway will be closed down as the derailed Amtrak cars can’t be removed until the investigation is complete.

Gov. Gianforte could not say how long the investigation would take, but estimates it could wrap up in ”some single digit number of days.”

People with questions about their family and friends aboard the train can call 800-523-9101.

Updated: September 26, 2021 at 5:57 PM MDT
Updated with quotes and additional details.
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