"I see 10 ambulances. A few more coming and it doesn't look good at all," said Melanie Brown, a witness on the scene who reached The Globe by telephone. "There's a little bit of smoke. I don't see fire, just a bit of smoke. It's really bad out here."
The Queen Elizabeth Way highway was closed nearby while an helicopter ambulance landed nearby, the Ontario Provincial Police said. Constable Linda Wolf said the helicopter wasn’t expected to land on the highway, the closure was to prevent driver distraction. The highway has since reopened, she said.
Globe photographer Dave Ritchie has been tweeting photos from the scene, which I'll be posting here.
Dave Ritchie, The Globe's photographer, is also tweeting from the scene. He goes by Media371 on Twitter and his tweets will be appearing here.
Carys Mills reports:
Ron Sponagle, who lives about three blocks from the derailment, said he heard the collision but initially thought it was a collision. “It’s really bad,” he said. “You could hear something, like twisted metal.”
He said he could see at least six ambulances and two air ambulances. There was a crowd of neighbours near the scene in the industrial area, he said, but added that police were keeping people far back and it was hard to see the wreckage.
CTV is reporting that Burlington’s mayor told them three people are dead. Police have not confirmed this to CTV or The Globe.
The train came off the tracks at Plains Road and King Road near Aldershot station this afternoon. Via spokeswoman Michelle Lamarche says 75 people were on board the train travelling from Niagara Falls, Ont., to Toronto.
CTV reports a second air ambulance arrived on the scene to air-lift passengers.
The Ministry of Transportation and the Red Cross are also on scene, CTV reports.
The train was reportedly #92 headed from Niagara Falls to Toronto.
The Globe's Greg McArthur reporting:
Josh Dykstra was on his laptop when the train felt like it "lifted up," momentarily hung in the air, and slammed onto its side.
"People were airborne, flying two of three rows forward," said Dykstra, who was being treated at hospital for what appeared to be two broken fingers. "It was like a bad movie. Stuff was flying all over the place, people were flying all over the place."
Toronto EMS says they initially dispatched two ambulance buses, a support truck and a superintendent to assist Halton response.
One bus and truck were canceled en route and the remaining bus is now on its way to a hospital in Mississauga with 10 patients with minor injuries
Five of the six train cars derailed, CTV reports. Police are also appealing to any passengers who left the scene to contact them at 905-825-4747 ext. 2306.
The Globe's Greg McArthur, who filed an update below, is live on the scene in Burlington.
When the car flipped on its side, the top of it collided with a building next to the tracks, Mr. Dykstra said. The force of the collision appeared to rip open the building, he said; rebar from the building was protruding into the derailed train car.
Deanna Villella, 40, said that, in the moments before the train flipped on its side, it felt like it the train had switched tracks – except her car just kept drifting sideways.
Realizing that the train was about to tip, she reverted to the instructions she had heard so many times on plane rides and stuck her head between her legs. When the car flipped, she held herself in her chair, suspended above the ground, unsure about what had happened. "I just knew I needed to keep my head down," said Ms. Villella, who was on her way to Gananoque, Ont. for a conference.
Via spokeswoman Michelle Lamarche said the train was #92, on the way from Niagara to Toronto. She could only confirm that one person was dead, who had been in the locomotive, where workers would be.
In the haze of the accident, Deanna Villella couldn't recall if she was on the third or fourth car, but said the bulk of the carnage was isolated to the first two cars.
Part of her car ripped open like a tin can, which allowed everyone to escape after the collected themselves. Everyone pitched in, whether they were retrieving luggage or helping injured passengers to safety, she said.
"It's amazing how people just start helping each other," she said.
The VIA spokeswoman said three passengers were taken by air ambulance and 40 were seen by hospitals in the area. She said the transportation board is on its way.
VIA has confirmed the three who died in the derailment were VIA Rail employees, CTV reports.
Hamilton Health Sciences spokeswoman Jennifer Kramer said the hospital's response is considered "Code orange." It's the type of response for "external disasters." "It's not something that happens frequently by any means," she said.
She said the hospital has received two people by air ambulance, one by land and one pediatric patient was taken to the McMaster Children's Hospital. Their conditions weren't available as they're being assessed now, she said.
VIA spokesperson Michelle Lamarche tells CP24 no more passengers are trapped on the train. Thirty passengers have been transported to Union Station by bus. Thirty-two passengers have been seen by doctors.
Any family members seeking more information can reach VIA Rail at 1-888-842-6141
Video from the scene coming momentarily.
VIA has released a statement confirming the three dead were locomotive engineers who were in the locomotive. All five cars of the train derailed, VIA said.
The statement says other VIA trains will be affected because the tracks are blocked.
VIA confirmed people on board included 75 passengers, 3 engineers and one service person.
The federal Transportation Safety Board says two investigators are on scene, four more are on their way. Investigations of this type typically take about a year, a spokesman said.
Updates coming momentarily from a press conference with VIA Rail.
John Marginson, chief operating officer of VIA, just provided an update. He said there were 3 serious injuries (a broken leg, a heart attack and a back injury). There were 42 passenger injuries and one crew member injured in the train. Three locomotive engineers died in the locomotive compartment of the train.
Mr. John Marginson said there would usually only be two locomotive engineers in that area but there was a trainee engineer there today as well. No ages or genders released yet.
CN is trying to free a track so that some trains will be able to make their way through soon. He said all six cars derailed, leaving one on its side and another at a 45 degree angle.
A black box will be removed from the train for the investigation. It should tell investigators the speed and if the bell and lights were working.