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At least 2 dead, 116 injured after Amtrak train collides with freight train in South Carolina

Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal Amtrak train crash in Cayce, S.C., Feb. 4, 2018. Tim Dominick/The State via AP

At least 2 people were killed and another 116 were injured when an Amtrak passenger train headed from New York to Miami collided with a freight train in South Carolina early Sunday morning, officials said.

The two people who died were Amtrak employees, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said at a news conference. The more than 100 people injured suffered everything from minor cuts to broken bones, he said.

A passenger told ABC News that he and his wife were in a sleeper car near the back of the train when the crash occurred.

"There was a lot of violent shaking and everything just came to a stop, and I hit my head on the wall," said Derek Pettaway, 33, of the Philadelphia area, who was traveling with his wife, Erin, 32, to Orlando for vacation. "When it was happening, it was quick. You just knew it was not the regular type of movement."

"The cafe car, which was located just in front of our car, was completely folded in half," he said.

Amtrak staff quickly got people off the train, Pettaway said. He said he was taken to a hospital and treated for a bump on his head and whiplash and that his wife was not injured. After he was released from the hospital, he reunited with his wife at a makeshift shelter at a school near where the train crash occurred.

As Amtrak's initial statement on the collision said, "Amtrak Train 91, operating between New York and Miami, came in contact with a CSX freight train at around 2:35 am in Cayce, South Carolina."

The statement continued, "The lead engine derailed, as well as some passenger cars. There were 8 crew members and approximately 139 passengers, with injuries reported. Local authorities are on the scene responding. More information will be provided as available."

CSX said in a statement, "This morning at approximately 2:30 a.m., an incident involving a CSX train and an Amtrak train occurred in Cayce, SC near Dixiana Road and S.R. 26. Reports of injuries have been confirmed. An emergency response plan has been activated to provide full support. Lexington County authorities have been notified and are responding to the incident. Additional information will be made available as details of the incident are confirmed."

A spokesperson for Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, South Carolina, told ABC News that it received 25 patients with minor injuries. The spokesperson added that Palmetto Health Center also received patients, but the number of patients and the injuries sustained is unclear.

Gov. McMasters said there was a rapid response from numerous emergency crews. He said the National Transportation Safety Board was sending a crew to investigate, and that South Carolina State Police and the FBI were assisting in the investigation.

"I know it's a Sunday morning and a lot of folks are going to church. I'd would asked that they say a prayer for these people," McMaster said.

The NTSB will investigate the incident. The NTSB go team will consist of more than a dozen investigators and support staff. Chairman of the NTSB board Robert Sumwalt will be the board member for the Go Team, an NTSB spokesperson told ABC News.

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