"Amtrak Train 91, operating between NY and Miami, came in contact with a CSX freight train at around 2.35am in Cayce, South Carolina", the Amtrak statement said. "SC is with you all!" tweeted Tim Scott, one of the state's two USA senators.
Michael Kempf, 54, a train engineer from Savannah, Ga., and Michael Cella, 36, a train conductor from Orange Park, Fla., were killed in the crash near Cayce, S.C., Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said, according to The State.
Mr McMaster said 116 people were taken to four hospitals.
He added: "It's a terrible thing to see, to understand what force was involved".
McMaster identified the dead as Amtrak personnel and said the freight train, which was stationary, appeared to have been empty.
- October 21, 2012: About a dozen passengers and crew members on an Amtrak train from Chicago to Pontiac, Michigan, were injured when two locomotives and one or more coaches derailed after the train lost contact with the track near Niles, Michigan.
Palmetto Health emergency room doctor Eric Brown said the hospital quickly changed a tent they were using as a waiting room to keep people away from patients with the flu into a triage area to diagnosis the injured Sunday. At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries.
The injuries ranged from cuts and scratches to broken bones, Lexington County spokesman Harrison Cahill said. No major injuries were reported among the lawmakers or staff on the train.
Jaclyn Kinney, 22, from Pinehurst, North Carolina, was in the sleeper vehicle with her boyfriend on their way to Orlando.
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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.
"The staff members came by and made sure people were okay before we left the vehicle. We were waiting for a few minutes before they evacuated us". "I think people were more in shock", Pettaway said in an interview with CNN.
"We've been to the scene and I would ask this is a Sunday, everyone go to church and say a prayer for these people involved", he told reporters.
Sumwalt says investigators don't know if the signals further up the line indicated the track had been switched off the main route.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed transportation deaths are going up, but travel by train is still one of the safest modes of transportation.
Amtrak has equipped 49% of its locomotives and 67% of its tracks with PTC, according to Federal Railroad Administration data from the second quarter of 2017.
Last week, an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a truck near Charlottesville, Virginia.