Two men killed in Washington Amtrak crash identified as rail advocates

SEATTLE -- Two victims in the deadly Amtrak derailment in DuPont, Washington have been identified as rail advocates.

A relative of one of the victims, Rachel Topper, said Tuesday that she was notified of the death of her uncle Jim Hamre in Monday's crash.

In a Facebook post, she said they were heartbroken and that Hamre will be missed by many. Topper said the family has no further comment.

Pierce Transit released a statement saying that Zack Willhoite, a customer service support specialist, was also killed in Monday's derailment.

Willhoite was also a member of All Aboard Washington, an organization of rail advocates.

The group's executive director, Lloyd Flem, said it was a given Willhoite would be on the trip. "It's pretty devastating. We're having a tough time," Flem said.

Pierce Transit says Willhoite was "admired by his colleagues."

Chair of Pierce Transit's advisory board said it was "heartbreaking" to hear the news.

Authorities say three people died and dozens were injured when the train plunged off an overpass over Interstate 5 south of Seattle. The train was making its inaugural run.

Federal investigators say they haven't determined a cause of the derailment but revealed that the train was travelling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Here is the full statement from Pierce Transit:

"The entire Pierce Transit team was deeply saddened to learn that one of our employees was a victim of the Dec. 18 Amtrak train accident. IT Customer Service Support Specialist Zack Willhoite has been a Pierce Transit employee since 2008. He has always been deeply appreciated and admired by his colleagues, and played an important role at our agency. He will be sincerely missed. Our thoughts are with Zack’s family, as well as the families of the other victims, during this very difficult time."