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Amtrak blamed a freight rail operator for a crash on Sunday that killed 2 and injured more than 100 others. It was the third fatal Amtrak train crash in less than two months.

Amtrak says it is cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating why the switch sent this latest train hurtling off the track. Dozens of others were reported injured.

Amtrak Train 91, operating between NY and Miami collided with a CSX freight train around 2:35 a.m.in Cayce, South Carolina, according to a release from Amtrak. That train then returned to the main track and backed into the siding, Sumwalt said.

CSX did not address the comments by the Amtrak CEO but said it was working with federal investigators.

The Silver Star, en route from NY to Miami with almost 150 people aboard, was going an estimated 59 miles per hour when it struck the empty CSX train around 2:45 a.m., Gov. Henry McMaster said.

He said the question for investigators is why that happened.

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NTSB experts will be on site for the next five to seven days.

At least two people were killed and about 70 injured early Sunday when an Amtrak passenger train and a CSX Corp. freight train collided outside Columbia, S.C. Autopsies are under way, she said at a news conference.

"It's a frightful thing to see, to understand the force involved", he said after touring the scene.

Drone footage showed the locomotives of both trains crumpled, with the Amtrak engine on its side.

"I told him like I did every time, 'keep your eyes open watch out for people blowing the crossing because that's usually when the accidents happen, people trying to race the train'".

"Yesterday, tragedy struck as two trains collided only a few miles from City Hall including the loss of two men, Michael Kempf and Michael Cella, whose lives will not be forgotten".

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The lead engine derailed, as well as some passenger cars according to the release. One vehicle in the middle of the Amtrak train was snapped in half, bent like a V.

The only way the Amtrak train could have gotten onto the siding was for a switch to have been thrown, Anderson said.

Earlier, local authorities said about 5,000 gallons of fuel were spilled following the train crash.

Donald Trump praised the emergency services and said his thoughts were with all the victims involved. "My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims involved in this mornings (sic) train collision in SC", he tweeted. "Thank you to our incredible First Responders for the work they've done".

CSX in its own statement offered condolences to the families of the two Amtrak employees who were killed in the crash. The engineer later told the NTSB he had misread a signal and tried to brake before the accident.

Regulators have demanded the implementation of positive train control for decades, and the technology is now in place in the Northeast, but railroads that operate tracks used by Amtrak elsewhere in the US have won repeated extensions from the government.

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The wreck took place near a switchyard about 16km south of Columbia in Lexington County.