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Amtrak train engineer noticed bend in rail, applied brakes before derailment in Kansas

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CIMARRON, Kan.  — The engineer on the Amtrak train that derailed early Monday morning about 20 miles west of Dodge City, Kansas, noticed a bend in the rail and hit the emergency brakes before the train left its tracks with 128 passengers and 14 crew members on board.

Authorities say 29 people have been taken to hospitals but Grey County spokeswoman Ashley Rogers says of the 29 people hurt, no one has life-threatening injuries.

An Amtrak statement says the train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago early Monday when it derailed just after midnight.

Rogers says she went to the scene and saw five cars on their sides and two others that were off the tracks but still standing. She says buses and ambulances have taken the passengers who are not hurt to a community building in the small town of Cimarron to wait while Amtrak makes arrangements to take them to their destinations.

Twenty-one-year-old Kelsey Wilson says she was traveling on the train to return to Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, when she was awoken early Monday. Wilson, of Pueblo, Colorado, says she hit her head as the car became disconnected and overturned about 20 miles west of Dodge City.

She says she escaped through the top of the flipped car and then slid down the side. She said she then "passed out" and was among at least 29 people taken to hospitals for treatment. She was released with a neck brace.

Her traveling companion, 21-year-old Daniel Aiken, of Lenexa, Kansas, says he heard people scream. He said they calmed down when they realized the train "wasn't going to blow up."

 

One of the passengers told FOX 4's Kathy Quinn that he knew something was wrong when he felt the passenger car shaking and making noise.

"Then when I saw the train shaking, I saw the car in front of us stand upright and our car starting to tip over, and it was tipping over on our side of the aisle," Atilnao Dominguez told FOX 4. "And I told him to hold on hold on. Luckily we didn't have other bodies flying on top of us, but we opened the emergency window on top of the right side of the car,  and I climbed out and helped everybody out."

Dominguez says he was fine and has traveled by train since he was a little boy.  Dominguez's wife and son left Kansas City, Kan., early Monday morning to go and pick him up from southwest, Kan.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez

Image courtesy of Daniel Szczerba and Atilano Dominquez