MENDON, Mo. (AP) — An air ambulance service official says at least eight helicopters are taking patients from the site of a passenger train that derailed in Missouri while traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago.

Matt Daugherty, Lifeflight Eagle director of business development, said helicopters were responding from around the state, The Kansas City Star reported. Daugherty said he knew there were a number of injuries and some people were in critical condition.

The train derailed Monday after hitting a dump truck that was blocking a public crossing, Amtrak said.

The Southwest Chief was carrying about 243 passengers and 12 crew members when the collision happened near Mendon at 1:42 p.m., Amtrak said. Eight cars and two locomotives derailed.

Helicopter video shown by KMBC-TV in Kansas City from the scene showed rail cars on their side as emergency responders used ladders to climb into one of them. The video also showed six medical helicopters parked nearby waiting to transport patients.

Three passengers were taken to University Hospital in Columbia, hospital spokesman Eric Maze said. He did not have information on their conditions.

Passengers on the train included high school students from Pleasant Ridge High School in Easton, Kansas, who were headed to a Future Business Leaders of America conference in Chicago, Superintendent Tim Beying told The Kansas City Star.

The Southwest Chief takes about two days to travel from Los Angeles to Chicago. Mendon, with a population of about 160, is about 84 miles (135 kilometers) northeast of Kansas City.

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This story has been corrected to show that the train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago.



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