Empire Builder en route to Seattle fatally derails in central Montana

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NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg, investigator John Manutes and Investigator-In-Charge Jim Southworth at scene of the Sept. 25 derailment of the Amtrak Empire Builder near Joplin, Montana. (NTSB photo)

JOPLIN, Montana — The cross-country Amtrak train that would have passed through Wenatchee yesterday derailed in rural Montana on Saturday, killing three people.

Authorities say dozens more were injured when the Empire Builder toppled off the tracks near Joplin, Montana, about 4 p.m. local time. Eight of the train’s 10 cars went off the rails near a switch.

One hundred forty-one passengers and 16 crewmembers were aboard, headed west toward the train’s final destination in Seattle, according to Amtrak. Seven people remained in treatment at Montana hospitals on Sunday.

The Empire Builder’s route takes it daily from Chicago to Seattle via Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and Idaho, with North Central Washington stops in Ephrata, Wenatchee and Leavenworth.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg was expected to hold a media briefing on the derailment Monday afternoon.