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February 4, 2018

Fatal South Carolina Amtrak Train Disaster

On Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, at approximately 2:35 a.m., an Amtrak train traveling from New York to Miami, Florida derailed in Columbia, S.C., killing two Amtrak workers and injuring more than 100 passengers. The incident happened near the S.C. State Farmers Market when the train collided with a stationary CSX freight train. Reports state both trains were traveling on the same track and drone footage indicated the Amtrak train was preparing to change tracks.

Additionally, more than 5,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from the train as a result of the crash.

Motley Rice transportation attorney and CNN transportation analyst Mary Schiavo has commented frequently on train disasters.

Mary told CNN, “When we're looking at Amtrak safety record this is the third deadly collision since December. We had the one last weekend, in Virginia, which left one person dead, one in December three people dead.” When commenting on Amtrak’s safety record, Mary said, “Because each of those three crashes that you mentioned had three different causes, but in all cases they could have been aided by Positive Train Control, more alert conductors, or better gates to keep vehicles off the tracks.” She continued, “Amtrak has the worst safety record in terms of deaths in the last year than aviation, than commercial aviation in the United States, for example. So it is going to be a big question that the investigators need to find out what is going on.”

Motley Rice Train Crash Experience

Motley Rice attorneys have experience representing victims of train disasters, including representing injured train passengers from Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, on other rail lines and others injured when two trains collided in January 2005 in Graniteville, S.C., resulting in a massive chlorine spill that injured dozens and killed eight people. The settlement provided compensation for personal injury claims associated with the crash and chemical spill. Read more about this case.

Read Mary’s blog from March 2015 on New train crash technology may be the difference in lives lost due to vehicle collisions about Positive Train Control.

Families may call the Amtrak hotline to check on passengers (800) 523-9101.​

If you or a loved one were involved in the crash, contact Motley Rice transportation attorney Mary Schiavo at [email protected] or on her cell phone at 843.834.2445.