Federal investigators are trying to determine why a swich was in the wrong position, allowing an Amtrak passenger train to collide with a freight train Sunday morning in South Carolina. 

  • 2 Amtrak workers killed, 116 hurt in South Carolina crash
  • 8 crew members and about 140 passengers on board
  • Amtrack passenger information line at 1-800-523-9101

Two people died and more than 100 were injured in the crash that happened in Cayce.

The southbound train was scheduled for a stop in Tampa early Sunday afternoon.

The Silver Star, en route from New York to Miami with nearly 150 people aboard, was going an estimated 59 mph when it struck the empty CSX train around 2:45 a.m.

It is the third deadly wreck involving Amtrak in less than two months.

Engineer Michael Kempf, 54, of Savannah, Georgia, and conductor Michael Cella, 36, of Orange Park, Florida, were killed, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said. Of the 116 people taken to four hospitals, only about a half dozen were admitted. The rest had minor injuries such as cuts, bruises or whiplash, authorities said.

"For whatever reason, that switch was, as they say in the railroad industry, lined and locked , which basically means it was aligned for the trains coming down this way to be divereted into the siding," said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwal.  "Of course key to this investigation is learning why this switch was lined that way."