Tester Thanks First Responders and Volunteers that Helped Passengers at Empire Builder Derailment

Senator: “These Montanans came together to care for strangers in need.”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today thanked the first responders and volunteers who assisted passengers and provided aid to those affected by the Amtrak derailment on the Empire Builder Route near Joplin, Montana.

“I want to thank the first responders from Cascade County, Hill County, Toole County, Pondera County, Glacier County, Chouteau County, Liberty County, and Blaine County; the Great Falls Fire and Rescue was also there; the highway patrol and border patrol also answered the call and were on the site, to secure the scene and provide medical assistance,” said Tester. “And I want to thank the community members who showed up to help however they could—farmers, neighbors, and folks who literally pulled over to the side of the highway and rushed to the crash site to help get passengers to safety… These Montanans came together to care for strangers in need, and showed the world why Montana is the very best state, in the very best country in the world. Our nation owes the first responders our thanks, and I want to say: thank you.”

Tester also called for a full investigation of the incident from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to ensure that an accident of this type never happens again. He is currently monitoring the investigation, and has staff at the scene, and has been in contact with officials from Amtrak, NTSB, FRA, BNSF, and other relevant entities as the situation moves forward.

Tester has long been an advocate for safe railway service in Montana. His bipartisan infrastructure package recently passed the Senate and includes his bipartisan Right Track Act, a bill focused on improving safety at rural rail crossings. The package also includes his Blocked Railroad Crossing Bill which addresses instances of blocked highway-railroad crossings across the nation.