The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad is expected to resume full operations Friday, according to a statement from parent company TWC Enterprises Limited, after a Wednesday afternoon derailment that injured at 19 people. The statement says the injured experienced "bumps and bruises type injuries" and that all patients were released from the clinic within hours of arriving.
The number of injured was increased from a previously reported nine.
The train, which consisted of two vintage locomotives and 15 passenger rail cars, experienced a partial derailment at about 1:55 p.m. local time Wednesday. The derailment involved the two locomotives and four passenger cars. At the time of the accident, approximately 360 passengers and crew were onboard the train, whichwas on a scenic excursion trip popular with cruise ship passengers.
In a flyover Thursday morning by Channel 2 News, crews were seen working to remove the train. The cause of the derailment has not yet been determined. A company statement said operations were temporarily suspended to allow the railroad's investigation of the cause of the accident.
Updated: 2:56 p.m. Thursday, July 24 by Kortnie Horazdovsky. Adam Pinsker contributed to this report from Skagway.
Original Story from Wednesday, July 23:
A train on the railroad that runs from Skagway to Canada derailed Wednesday afternoon, with nine people suffering minor injuries.
David Lee, with the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the White Pass and Yukon Railroad train derailed sometime after 3 p.m.
White Pass and Yukon Railroad President John Finlayson tells The Associated Press that the injured are being treated at a clinic in the tourist town of Skagway, about 100 miles northwest of Juneau. Finlayson says railroad crews got power to the train, and it was able to return to Skagway with all the passengers. It wasn't immediately clear how many cars derailed.
Lee says some people may be medevaced from the derailment site, but says none of the injuries appear life-threatening. The narrow-gauge route, a popular tourist attraction, rises more than 2,800 feet through White Pass before crossing into the Yukon Territory and heading north to Whitehorse.
Buckwheat Donohue with the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau says everyone injured in the incident was treated and released in Skagway, with no medevacs taking place. Donohue initially said some people were thrown from the train into the Skagway River, but later said that information was incorrect.
An emergency response team is on site, with Donohue saying about 10,000 people had traveled the railroad Wednesday.
In a statement on the incident, the railroad says operations have been temporarily suspended as officials learn more about what happened. The 15-car train reportedly derailed near Mile 20 of the railroad, northeast of Skagway.
"The location of the derailment is on a section of track that routinely handles thousands of passenger excursion trips across the scenic and historic White Pass & Yukon Route constructed at the turn of the century," officials wrote. "The derailment involved two vintage locomotives and four passenger rail cars. Early reports indicate that there were multiple injuries, although none of them appear to have been life-threatening."
The railroad's president says safety remains its No. 1 priority.
“Although we have not yet identified the specific cause or causes of this incident, a thorough investigation has been undertaken, and all reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that safe operations remain the overriding focus of our workforce and management team,” Finlayson said in the statement.
The National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska district chief, Clint Johnson, says the NTSB probably won't conduct a full investigation of the derailment.
Editor's note: Buckwheat Donohue with the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau has corrected his initial report that the derailment occurred at Mile 14 of the railroad, and that people were thrown into the Skagway River.
Channel 2’s Jeff Bridges and Nikki Carvajal contributed information to this story.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.