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Train carrying US Republicans hits truck, killing one person

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By (AFP)

Washington – A train carrying several dozen Republican lawmakers including US House Speaker Paul Ryan collided with a garbage truck Wednesday in Virginia, killing one person and sending six others, including a congressman, to hospital, officials said.

The White House said no members of Congress were seriously injured, and that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the accident.

At least 300 people, including lawmakers, their families and staff, were aboard the train from Washington bound for a Republican policy retreat in West Virginia.

The truck that was struck was carrying three people, one of whom was killed and another seriously injured, Senator Bill Cassidy, a licensed physician who helped attend to the injured, said on Twitter.

“There is one confirmed fatality and one serious injury. There are no serious injuries among members of Congress or their staff,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident.”

Train operator Amtrak said two crew members and three passengers were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries, and that transportation safety officials were investigating at the scene of the accident in Crozet.

It said that while the event was under investigation, “this is an opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of exercising caution around railroad rights-of-way.”

The engine, which according to lawmaker photographs was mangled in the crash, derailed, but the rest of the cars remained upright on the tracks, according to Amtrak.

Congressman Jason Lewis, a Republican from Minnesota, was taken to a hospital to be checked for a concussion, his office said.

Congressman Tom Cole said first responders evacuated at least two people who were injured, and who were apparently on the truck.

Shortly after the accident, Ryan’s office said the House speaker was “fine.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who flew in later in the day, delivered an evening address to lawmakers at the three-day retreat west of the US capital.

Pence said he was in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump when the news broke.

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