5 dead after passenger train derails in Philadelphia

An Amtrak passenger train with more than 200 passengers on board derailed causing multiple injuries.

A screengrab picture shows a firefighter rescuing Amtrak passengers after a train with more than 200 passengers on board derailed in north Philadelphia on 12 May 2015, causing multiple injuries.

PHILADELPHIA - At least five people have been killed and 50 others have been injured after an Amtrak passenger train carrying 243 people derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, causing multiple injuries, a city fire department supervisor said.

The official, who did not give his name, said there were "lots of injuries" at the scene of the wreck in the city's Port Richmond neighbourhood along the Delaware River, but he did not elaborate.

An NBC affiliate in the city reported at least 50 people were injured when eight to 10 cars from the train derailed, citing officials.

Ten patients were taken to Temple University Hospital in the city, spokeswoman Giselle Zayon said, but she was unable to describe the extent of their injuries.

Television footage broadcast on MSNBC showed dozens of emergency workers scrambling over and around the wreckage with flashlights in the dark. Photos from the scene showed emergency personnel loading injured people onto stretchers and backboards.

Former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was a passenger on the train, told MSNBC that his rail car flipped over, but he escaped with minor cuts and bruises.

MSNBC reported about 240 passengers were aboard the train, citing Amtrak officials. Amtrak said the derailed locomotive was train No. 188, headed from Washington DC to New York, but provided no other details about the accident.

The weather was fair at the time of the crash.

Port Richmond is a working-class neighbourhood that has recently become a popular place to live among younger adults in the city.

In a video posted on social media, passengers could be heard crying and others were telling victims to crawl forward.

The National Transportation Safety Board said on its Twitter account that it was "currently gathering information" regarding the derailment.

NTSB is launching a go-team to investigate tonight's #Amtrak accident near Philadelphia. Team will arrive at site in the morning.