One person killed Thursday in train crash carrying members of Congress
A chartered train that was carrying Republican members of Congress collided with a garbage truck in Virginia yesterday morning. The crash has since caused the death of one person, and injured several others. Republican members of the House and Senate were on their way to a retreat in the West Virginia countryside to discuss strategy for the upcoming elections. No members of Congress or their staff were severely injured.
Authorities have since identified the lone victim of the crash as Christopher Foley, a 28 year old who was one of the two passengers in the trash truck that was stalled on the tracks. The other passenger in the truck had been airlifted to University of Virginia’s Medical Center with critical injuries. The UVA health system had said they have received six patients from the crash, with one in critical condition, one in fair condition, and four others who have since been discharged after being treated.
So far, the National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team of investigators to the scene of the crash. Earl Weener, a member of the board, has said that NTSB investigations can take considerable time to complete, and that the board would not make any speculations on the cause of the crash until further evidence was presented.
According to Amtrak, the crash took place at 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Virginia. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona described it as feeling a “big impact”. He was joined by his wife and 18-year-old son, whom he was traveling with. Flake said the front of the train “smashed the truck pretty badly” and saw both of the passengers of the truck were badly injured. After the crash, he said “I knew there were going to be bad injuries, so I worked my way back thinking they might need people to help carry people to ambulances, and they did.”
Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas was one of several congressman on board that are trained physicians. He tweeted saying he performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation “on [the] train conductor, and helped the two people in the garbage truck who are now in the ambulance. They are injured badly.” Marshall was one of several people who tried to help Foley, but he said “We just could never get him resuscitated, I’m afraid, so we decided we needed to focus all of our attention on the other person, who at least had a pulse.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was also aboard the train at the time of the crash, but he was not among those who were injured. Ryan took to Twitter, saying the incident was “a terrible tragedy.”
The aftermath of the accident was eerily similar to when Republican lawmakers were fired upon at a GOP baseball game in Virginia, that let House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and three others wounded. Senator Jeff Flake said “I thought after that time I never want to experience a day like this again, and unfortunately it came too soon.”
President Trump and Vice President Pence both offered their condolences to those involved in the accident. Trump is scheduled to travel to the retreat, which will still take place, but will now include a moment of prayer and a security briefing from Capitol police.