Train-loving best friends named as victims in fatal Amtrak derailment

Two of the victims of Monday's fatal Amtrak train derailment have been named and, according to local reports, the men were best friends.

Lifelong rail enthusiast and employee of the county's public transit authority Zack Willhoite, 35, was named Tuesday as one of the three people killed when train No. 501 was left dangling from an overpass after its inaugural trip on a brand new route came to a grinding halt.

According to CBS News, the other victim named as Willhoite's fellow train lover, 61-year-old Jim Hamre. Local reports say the men were best friends.

"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," read a statement from Pierce County following the news of Willhoite's death.

RELATED: Amtrak train derails in Washington state

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DUPONT, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 18: Emegency crews work at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington. At least six people were killed when a passenger train car plunged from the bridge. The derailment also closed southbound I-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
An Amtrak passenger train is seen derailed on a bridge over interstate highway (I-5) in this Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy WSDOT/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
The scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
The scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
Washington State Trooper Brooke Bova briefs the media at the scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
The scene where an Amtrak passenger train derailed on a bridge over interstate highway I-5 in DuPont, Washington, U.S. December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An Amtrak passenger train derailment over interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Washington State Patrol image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Brooke Bova/Washington State Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train derailment on interstate highway (I-5) in this Washington State Patrol image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Brooke Bova/Washington State Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An Amtrak passenger train derailment over interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Washington State Patrol image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Brooke Bova/Washington State Patrol/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Parts of an Amtrak passenger train at the scene of derailment on interstate highway (I-5) is seen in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An Amtrak passenger train is seen derailed on a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in this Pierce County Sheriff's Department image moved on social media in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. Courtesy Pierce County Sheriff's Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Tom James
First responders and investigators are seen near the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed on a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
First responders are at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
DUPONT, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 18: Law enforcement work at the scene of a Amtrak train derailment on December 18, 2017 in DuPont, Washington. At least six people were killed when a passenger train car plunged from the bridge. The derailment also closed southbound I-5. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Photos from scene of amtrak passenger train derailment https://t.co/gd09MzLCC6
NEW: NBC's @anblanx reports that there are multiple deaths and injuries following an Amtrak train derailment in Tac… https://t.co/wrgXvFiiOM
WSP diverting traffic at DuPont. WSP aiding withbroad closure & getting assistance to scene. https://t.co/fRw4uGNIVv
NEW: @CBSNews is hearing official word that there are casualties with potential fatalities in the @Amtrak train der… https://t.co/7s4RHGYyiN
Amtrak derailment in Washington State being treated as a mass-casualty scene. https://t.co/VabCii9zhn
Developing: Amtrak train derails near Seattle onto the I-5 freeway https://t.co/XfF79Hxdfj https://t.co/DCjgYtjPBp
First responders and investigators are seen near the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed on a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Nick Adams
First responders are seen at the scene of an Amtrak passenger train which derailed and is hanging from a bridge over the interstate highway (I-5) in DuPont, Washington, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Tom James
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Hamre was a retired civil engineer with the state Transportation Department and a member of the All Aboard Washington advocacy group.

"Jim was among the country's most respected and effective rail advocates and a good friend and mentor to me. I will miss his counsel, and our community is poorer for his loss," said Jim Mathews, president of the Rail Passengers Association.

The men were killed after the train, on its maiden voyage down a corridor created as part of a recently completed $180.7 million project, rounded a turn at what inspectors say was too high a rate of speed.

National Transportation Safety Board member Bella Dinh-Zarr said the train was going 80 mph around the curve that had a 30 mph speed limit. It left the tracks, causing cars to fall off an overpass and onto Interstate 5 outside Olympia.

In addition to the three fatalities, dozens were injured, many of them seriously. Investigators are now trying to piece together what happened in the moments prior to the crash.

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