Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend

·4 min read

Amtrak train derails in Montana, leaving at least 3 dead and multiple people injured

Amtrak joined federal safety officials Sunday to investigate a Montana train derailment that left at least three people dead and rural communities scrambling to provide food and shelter to the stunned survivors. The westbound Empire Builder train with 141 passengers and 16 crew members derailed Saturday afternoon near Joplin, a town of less than 200 people a few miles from the Canadian border. The tragedy occurred as Amtrak was closing out its nationwide, annual Rail Safety Week. Liberty County sheriff’s dispatcher Starr Tyler confirmed the deaths, saying there were multiple injuries. Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams said eight of the train's 10 cars toppled off the tracks, some of them sitting on their sides off the track when the train came to a halt.

Emergency personnel respond to the scene of an Amtrak train derailment Sept. 25 in north-central Montana. Multiple people were injured when the train that runs between Seattle and Chicago derailed, the train agency said.
Emergency personnel respond to the scene of an Amtrak train derailment Sept. 25 in north-central Montana. Multiple people were injured when the train that runs between Seattle and Chicago derailed, the train agency said.

Hurricane Sam intensifies to Category 4 with 145 mph winds

Hurricane Sam stormed westward through the Atlantic Basin on Sunday, a powerful Category 4 storm that forecasters hoped would stay far enough from land to avoid major damage from its 145 mph winds and heavy rains. AccuWeather forecasters said a due west path through the northern islands of the Caribbean seemed unlikely. A dip in the jet stream would steer Sam away from the USA, AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. "But if that jet stream dip sets up farther west or meanders westward, then there is room for Sam to get very close to the U.S. next weekend," Rayno said. That scenario, nine years ago, helped steer Superstorm Sandy west into New Jersey. Sandy was blamed for almost 300 deaths across multiple nations and damage of almost $70 billion.

Sam became a major hurricane on Saturday.
Sam became a major hurricane on Saturday.

Real quick

'Dog the Bounty Hunter' joins search for Gabby Petito's fiance

Funeral services were held Sunday in New York for Gabby Petito, 22, a blogger whose death on a cross-country adventure fueled intense interest across the nation and spurred a manhunt for her missing fiance. Brian Laundrie was last seen 12 days ago when he told his parents he was going hiking in the Carlton Reserve, a sprawling wilderness area near his home in North Port, Florida. TV personality Duane Lee Chapman, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” joined the search and promised to nab Laundrie before his 24th birthday on Nov. 18. Saturday, Chapman banged on the door to the home Petito and Laundrie shared with Laundrie's parents, but nobody answered.

People arrive for a funeral home viewing for Gabby Petito in Holbrook, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.
People arrive for a funeral home viewing for Gabby Petito in Holbrook, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.

Panel approves Dems’ $3.5 trillion bill, crunch time for Biden agenda

Democrats pushed a $3.5 trillion, 10-year bill strengthening social safety net and climate programs through the House Budget Committee on Saturday, but one Democrat opposed the measure in an illustration of the challenges party leaders face in getting the unanimity they’ll need to push the sprawling package through Congress. Passage marked a necessary but minor step for Democrats to get it to the full House. Before the measure approved Saturday reaches the House floor – the exact timing is uncertain – it is likely to be changed to reflect whatever House-Senate accords have been reached. The unusual weekend session occurred as top Democrats amp up efforts to end increasingly bitter disputes between the party’s centrist and liberal wings that threaten to undermine Biden’s agenda.

House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 21.
House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 21.

Closely fought German election ushers in post-Angela Merkel era

Exit polls show the center-left Social Democrats in a very close race with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc in Germany’s parliamentary election, which will determine who succeeds the longtime leader after 16 years in power. An exit poll put voters' support at 25% each for the Social Democrats – for whom outgoing Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz is running for chancellor – and Merkel’s center-right bloc under would-be successor Armin Laschet. Exit polls put the environmentalist Greens in third place with about 15% support. The environmentalist Greens, with candidate Annalena Baerbock, are making their first run for the chancellery. Putting together the next coalition government for Europe’s biggest economy could be a lengthy and complicated process. No party is likely to come anywhere near an outright majority.

German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy.
German voters are choosing a new parliament in an election that will determine who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel after her 16 years at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy.

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This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Montana train derailment, Hurricane Sam, search for Brian Laundrie, Germany election: Weekend's news

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