One person has died and several others were injured when an Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress collided with a garbage truck Wednesday in southwestern Virginia.
News reports say the person who died was a passenger in the truck. No one on the train was seriously injured, according to Amtrak, although Rep. Jason Lewis and several others were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to the scene. NTSB investigations can take a year or more to complete, and Earl Weener, a member of the board, said Wednesday night that investigators wouldn't speculate on any possible cause.
The train was specially chartered to carry the Republican lawmakers and their families to a retreat at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a speech at the retreat on Thursday.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was aboard the train, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was not, lawmakers said.
The accident happened near Charlottesville, Va., around 11:20 am. Lawmakers said there was little warning before the train apparently hit the truck as it crossed the tracks. Rep. Tom Cole told The Washington Post that many of his colleagues were milling around on the train when the impact occurred.
"It was quite a jolt," he said. "It was just, 'bam.'"
Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of a few lawmakers and spouses on the train who are physicians, told The New York Times that he, Sen. Jeff Flake and others administered CPR to one of the three truck passengers until paramedics arrived.
"We worked on him for about 20 minutes and then put him on a stretcher and carried him to the ambulance," Flake told the Times. One other truck passenger had minor injuries.
Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Transportation have confirmed that the accident occurred at a road crossing equipped with pavement markings, warning lights, bells, and a gate meant to keep cars off the tracks while a train is passing. It is unclear why the truck was on the tracks.
While the National Transportation Safety Board began investigating the cause of the crash, the lawmakers continued the trip to West Virginia by bus.
During an appearance at the White House Wednesday, Trump said the lawmakers "are doing pretty good." He called the train accident "a tough one, a tremendous jolt," and added he was "very sad to see" that someone in the truck had died.
Earlier, the White House issued a statement saying "our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident."