(ABC NEWS) — Photos show the damage inside an Amtrak train after it struck a backhoe on the tracks and partially derailed near Philadelphia Sunday morning, killing two people.
“The whole train was shaking like it was going to fall apart,” passenger Ari Ne’eman said.
“All you could see was a lot of dirt and debris flying past the train,” passenger Beth Blakely said. “And then there was a couple of sort of like fire flashes.”
Photos obtained by radio station WCHE in West Chester, Pennsylvania, show the damage.
Dr. Lalitha Trivikram, who was in the first car, sprang into action.
“You take a deep breath, you mutter a little prayer,” the Exton, Pennsylvania, internist said. “Saying, ‘I hope to God that I can handle whatever it is that comes my way.’ And you dig right in.”
The crash left two people dead and 35 others hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said the two fatalities were the backhoe operator and another track worker. Travis Thomas of the Chester Fire Department said the two people killed were not passengers. Amtrak did not immediately comment on the victims.
Train 89 was traveling from New York to Savannah, Georgia, when it crashed with 341 passengers and seven crew members on board.
The train struck the backhoe in Chester, Pennsylvania — about 15 miles outside Philadelphia — and came to a stop in the neighboring town of Trainer, the fire department said.
As part of the investigation, National Transportation Safety Board officials will look at mechanical operations, signal, track, human performance and survival performance, Ryan Frigo of the NTSB said Sunday afternoon.