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Amtrak passenger recalls train derailment: ‘I can’t believe this is actually happening’

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 14:48:39-04

MENDON, Mo. — Passengers on board an Amtrak train bound for Chicago after a stop in Kansas City are recalling the terrifying moments after their train derailed Monday afternoon in rural north-central Missouri.

Jason Drinkard was a passenger on board the train. He spoke with KSHB 41 News reporter Megan Abundis at Northwest High School in Mendon, Missouri.

“It was surreal,” Drinkard said. “You see movies that have it and there’s no way to accurately describe it.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Monday night that three people died in the train derailment, which took place around 12:45 p.m.

Two of the fatalities were on board the train. The third fatality was in a dump truck that was on the tracks of an uncontrolled intersection at the time of the derailment.

“We felt the impact,” Drinkard said. “My mind was saying I can’t believe this is actually happening. Everything else was just slow motion. It’s dust filled in the car. At that moment, you’re just trying to get everyone out of the car as quickly as possible."

At a 5 p.m. news conference MSHP officials didn’t provide an official estimate of injuries, though hospitals across the region reported receiving at least 10 patients, most to University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia, Missouri.

“All I remember thinking is that there was a bump and then a second bump and then all I remember thinking was no way,” Loralai Kruid, a high school student on board, said.

KSHB 41 also spoke with Kruid's parents who were reunited with her at the high school.

"Just praise God that she's alive," Kruid's father said.

Kruid's mother said she was shocked after receiving the phone call from her daughter.

"It was scary, she called me at work, and I just couldn't believe it," Kruid's mother said. "They're on a school trip, heading to nationals. So it's scary."

Kruid, who boarded the train as part of a group along with Drinkard earlier Monday in Kansas City, said she smashed her arm “pretty hard” on the window.

State officials say more than 200 passengers were on board the train at the time of the derailment. An Amtrak spokesperson said there were 12 crew on board.