2 Killed, More Than 100 Injured in Amtrak Train Crash in Cayce, South Carolina


February 4, 2018

A Sunday morning crash involving an Amtrak passenger train and a CSX freight train in Cayce, South Carolina, killed at least two people and injured more than 100.

  • There were eight crew members and approximately 139 passengers on board. Anyone seeking info about passengers on Train 91 should call the Amtrak info line at 1-800-523-9101.
  • The two people who were killed were Amtrak employees. They were identified as train engineer Michael Kempf, 54, from Savannah, Ga., and conductor Michael Cella, 36, Orange Park, Florida.
  • The crash between the Amtrak train and a CSX freight train occurred near Charleston Highway and Pine Ridge Road (west of Columbia) around 2:35 a.m. Sunday. The lead engine and a few passenger cars derailed.
  • The Amtrak train appeared to be on the wrong track, according to SC Gov. Henry McMaster, when it collided with a freight train that was stationary and on a loading track. 
  • All the passengers have been removed from Amtrak 91, which was operating from New York to Miami. The train was headed south, the governor said.
  • More than 100 passengers were taken to local hospitals, McMaster said. The Palmetto Health hospital system received 62 patients from the crash. According to Dr. Steve Shelton with Palmetto Health, one patient was critical late Sunday morning and two others were in serious condition.
  • President Donald Trump tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims involved in this mornings train collision in South Carolina. Thank you to our incredible First Responders for the work they’ve done!”
  • Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are on site to determine the exact cause.
  • Amtrak throughout the day was providing charter buses to help get those affected by the crash traveling on to their intended destinations.
  • There are no threats to the public, officials said, and the only road that is blocked from the incident is Pine Ridge Road. The public has been asked to NOT go to the scene of in Cayce. You will not be able to see the train.
  • More than 5,000 gallons of fuel spilled from the crash, with all leaks secured.
  • For those who were classified as injured, their injuries range from small scratches to broken bones.



Derek Pettaway, a passenger in one of the cars near the end of the train, told CNN that he was asleep at the time of the impact.

Pettaway said officials reacted swiftly and passengers were led off quickly.

“Nobody was panicking, people were in shock more than anything,” he said.

Pettaway said it was too dark to see very much, but most of the cars he did see were off the tracks but remained upright.

A shelter and reception site were set up by the American Red Cross at nearby Pine Ridge Middle School. That’s where the passengers who were not injured were placed.

“We know that they are shaken up quite a bit and this is unlike anything else they’ve ever been through before,” said Capt. Adam Myrick with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. “We wanted to get them out of the cold, get them out of the weather.”

Temperatures were in the upper 30s when the incident occurred.



This is the second fatal Amtrak crash in a week and the third in the last few months. Three people were killed in Washington State in December when an Amtrak train crashed there.


First responders on scene at a fatal Amtrak passenger train collision with a CSX freight train in Cayce, South Carolina. Lexington County Sheriffs Department.



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