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At least 3 killed in Amtrak train derailment in Montana

A fire official said he believed at least 15 people had been hospitalized.

An Amtrak train carrying more than 100 people derailed in Montana on Saturday, killing at least three people and injuring several others, officials said.

Dave Ghekiere, chief of the Volunteer Fire Department in Chester, Montana, said he believed at least 15 people were hospitalized. He added that his crews rescued people stuck inside the train cars, and he believed no one was still inside.

The Empire Builder train, traveling westbound from Chicago to Seattle/Portland, derailed near Joplin, Montana, about 4 p.m. local time (6 p.m. E.T.), Amtrak said in a statement. Around 141 passengers and 16 crew members were onboard, it said.

The train included two locomotives and 10 cars, eight of which derailed, the rail service said. The Empire Builder runs between Chicago and Seattle.

Amtrak said there were reported injuries among the passengers and crew members traveling on the train, but did not specify the exact numbers, adding that it was "working with the local authorities to transport those who were injured to medical care, and to safely evacuate everyone else at the scene."

Images from the scene showed one or two double-decker cars on their sides.

Amtrak said it had a team on the ground to fully support the National Transportation Safety Board as they investigate the cause of the derailment.

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Montana's Governor Greg Gianforte called for people to "join me in praying for all involved and the first responders on the ground," in a tweet.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, also tweeted, "My thoughts are with all the passengers, crew, and first responders on the scene."

Amtrak said the derailment impacted Empire Builder service Saturday night and Sunday, with the westbound train 7 terminating in Minneapolis and the eastbound train 8 originating in Minneapolis instead of in Chicago.

Saturday trains traveling in Montana, between Minot and Shelby, were canceled.