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Passengers fear hostage situation, call 911 after Amtrak train stranded 20 hours

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Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

This week, passengers on an Amtrak train called police over fears they were stuck in a hostage situation after becoming stranded for 20 hours in rural South Carolina, the New York Post reported.

At 5 p.m. on Monday, the Auto Train left Virginia and was scheduled to arrive in Orlando, Florida, at 10 a.m. on Tuesday; however, the trip experienced significant unexpected delays that caused passengers to panic.

Amtrak stated that a CSX freight train derailed after it struck a vehicle on the tracks in South Carolina, forcing the passenger train to divert course.

What was supposed to be a 17-hour journey turned into a 37-hour nightmare for 563 passengers aboard the Auto Train when it was forced to stop in Denmark, South Carolina, while waiting for a new crew to arrive.

The crew on board had timed out and were not legally allowed to operate the train, which had to wait until new staff arrived to relieve the crew from their shift.

Amtrak told ABC News, "The train was detoured off its normal route in order to continue operating south."

"We have been providing regular updates to customers, along with meals, snack packs and beverages," it added. "The onboard staff is working with pet owners to provide bathroom breaks."

Despite Amtrak's alleged updates, some concerned passengers felt they were being held against their will. Passengers stated they were not allowed to get off the train, even to allow their pets to use the restroom.

A video surfaced online in which a conductor can be heard saying over the loudspeaker, "Once again, for those of you that are calling the police, we are not holding you hostage. We are giving you all the information in which we have. We are sorry about the inconvenience."

In another video captured by a passenger, the conductor can be heard adding, "Please remember that you are traveling on federal property, so the cops outside of here cannot help you on here."

After a nearly 20-hour delay, the train finally arrived in Sanford, Florida, on Wednesday morning.

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