National | Politics

Rep. Tom Cole safe after train carrying Republican lawmakers derails




Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is reported safe after a train carrying Republican lawmakers derailed in an incident that has led to one fatality and some injuries.

Cole and dozens of fellow Republicans were on their way to a party retreat in West Virginia when the train derailed on Wednesday morning. The accident happened near Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Congressman Cole is on the train to West Virginia and has reported to us that he is okay," his staff wrote in a post on Twitter.

Cole is one of two tribal citizens in Congress. The other, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), who is from the Cherokee Nation, was not on the train.

"I am OK - I was not on the train. Sending prayers to my colleagues who are and those involved," Mullin wrote in a post on Twitter.

According to Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), who serves on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, a truck was involved in the derailment. In a post on Twitter, he said the occupants of the vehicle were being attended to by first responders.

Later, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) said one of the occupants of the truck died. In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed "one confirmed fatality and one serious injury" and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the Speaker of the House, offered condolences.

"Today’s incident was a terrible tragedy," Ryan wrote in a post on Twitter. "We are grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene and we pray for the victims and their families. May they all be in our thoughts right now."

The NTSB has sent a team to the site of the accident to investigate.