CROZET, Va. (CBSNewYork) — One person was killed and another seriously injured after a chartered Amtrak train carrying members of Congress to a Republican retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, the crash happened around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday at a railroad crossing in rural Crozet, Virginia – about 110 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The train was headed to the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
One person in the truck was killed.
CBS News reported six others were taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. One was in critical condition late Wednesday, four were being evaluated, and one had been released.
The impact of the collision also forced the garbage container off the bed of the truck – spewing trash everywhere.
“We were having a pretty normal train trip going to a very small town, the train was not going particularly fast. People were doing various things, a lot of people were doing work as we were traveling along and then the train jerked very hard and then kept going and then it came to a pretty quick stop and everybody knew something bad had happened,” Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama) told CBS News.
In a statement, the White House said there were no serious injuries among members of Congress or their staff.
President Donald Trump has been “fully briefed on the situation” and “is receiving regular updates.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident,” the White House said.
The train left Union Station in Washington, D.C. around 8:30 a.m.
Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-New York) of Long Island was among those on the train. He spoke to CBS2 moments afterward.
“I was in my seat, got thrown around a little bit in the seat,” Zeldin said. “The first thought was something terribly wrong just happened.”
Also on the train was Rep. Dan Donovan (R-New York) of Brooklyn and Staten Island.
“It was very apparent that we hit something,” Donovan said. “I didn’t know at the time whether it was something placed on the tracks, fell on the tracks, or whether it was a vehicle.”
“We got jolted, some people got tossed out of their seats and hit into the chairs in front of them,” he added, speaking to WCBS 880.
Lawmakers who are also physicians jumped in to help, including Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio). It was Dr. Wenstrup – a former battlefield surgeon – who helped save the life of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) when he was shot last year.
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), also a doctor, tweeted that he performed CPR on the garbage truck driver and helped two people in the cab of the truck.
“They ran all through the cars to make sure the passengers were OK,” Donovan said.
The train has now been towed to a rail yard. A bus took the members of Congress to their destination.
“The closer you were, the more of an impact there was,” said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona). “It did derail the engine car.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was on the train with his family. He called the accident a terrible tragedy and tweeted, “We pray for the victims and their families.”
Lawmakers left the Capitol Wednesday morning for the retreat, to work on their legislative agenda. The retreat is set to go on as planned, and Vice President Mike Pence is set to make an address there Wednesday evening.
The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the wreck late Wednesday, with assistance from Albermarle County, Virginia police.