A 15-foot mudslide has been cited as the cause for an Amtrak train derailing on Sunday morning near Seattle, Wash.
A mass of mud, rocks, and trees that was about 15 feet high and 30 feet wide caused the last three cars of an Amtrak train to derail on Monday, reports said. The mudslide travelled 100 feet down a 200-foot cliff before coming into contact with the train.
Due to the incident, all passenger travel on the Amtrak lines was suspended for at least 48 hours, the Seattle Times reported. A BNSF railway spokesperson confirmed that freight trains would resume activity on an adjacent line.
A crane will be required, spokesman Gus Melonas told The Times, in order to remove the debris that landed on the tracks. It is estimated that at least a quarter mile of track was damaged due to the mudslide. Passengers aboard the train that was traveling to Seattle from Mukilteo did any not report any injuries immediately after the incident. The front cars of the train were able to complete the journey; passengers in the back cars were moved forward.
Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman who confirmed that the train began from Chicago, told The Times that the derailing was "a relatively low speed event." There were 86 passengers and 11 crewmembers on board during the time of the incident, according to the Associated Press. The cause of the slide is still under official investigation. The tracks where the train, referred to as the "Empire Builder," was travelling were previously closed last month due to a mudslide.
"This has been one of the most problematic years we've faced, historically," Melonas told the AP. "It's due to day after day after day of successive rainfall."
Last year a freight train was also derailed in October. BNSF is looking in to ways to prevent mudslides in the future.
To see a mudslide knock over a train, click below.