MENDON, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Tuesday a fourth person died after an Amtrak train crashed and derailment near Mendon.
The four victims include the driver of a dump truck that the train hit and three passengers on the train. Two of those victims died at the site and one died later at a hospital.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the train had eight cars in total, and seven derailed.
The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation and arrived at the scene near Mendon on Tuesday morning. The community is about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City.
The agency held a news conference Tuesday afternoon, releasing more information about its investigation so far.
What we know about the Amtrak crash site
Since 2019, local leaders in Mendon and residents nearby have voiced concern about the crossing. And according to a report by the Missouri Department of Transportation, the state knew the site needed improvements.
The NTSB and highway patrol said the crash site is an passive railroad crossing on a gravel road, meaning there are no arms or lights.
There are thousands of these crossings all over the U.S. About 50% of crossings in the country and in Missouri are passive, according to the NTSB.
Still, NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said in her estimation, this tragedy could have been prevented if recommendations from her agency over the last few decades were heeded.
“Anytime our recommendations aren’t heeded, of course, I’m upset because we see tragedy after tragedy after tragedy and numerous fatalities and injuries, and we know and it’s very frustrating for our investigators,” Homendy said.
The NTSB said its in the process of downloading the event recorder, which will help determine when the train’s horn sounded, its speed and braking information. The speed limit in this area for trains is 90 mph.
The agency has also started interviewing Amtrak crew members, but could not share any information about those meetings yet.
Above all, though, Homendy said she’s sending her thoughts to the victims.
What we know about the passengers
The highway patrol later updated that there were approximately 275 passengers on the train and 12 crew members at the time of the crash.
A total of 150 passengers and crew were transported from the scene to 10 area hospitals. Their injuries ranged from minor to serious. Information about their specific injuries haven’t been released.
A number of people with injuries were bussed to a nearby high school for treatment.
With the Amtrak Southwest Chief route ranging from Los Angeles to Chicago, including a stop in Kansas City, passengers have ranged from Kansas students to Wisconsin Boy Scouts, a New Hampshire couple and a New Mexico man.