Amtrak Crash Death Toll
June 26, 2011 by USA Post
Amtrak Crash Death Toll, Officials say the death toll could rise in the crash of an Amtrak train that crashed into a tractor-trailer truck at a crossing. So far, at least two people were confirmed dead, the truck driver and the driver of the train. But Dan Lopez, spokesman for the Nevada Highway Patrol, said more deaths could be confirmed that the researchers delve into the wreckage. The remains are currently considered unstable and dangerous to pass. “We know that people have seen the bodies, but we can not reach them in the wreckage. The biggest thing now is the safety of workers,” said Lopez.
Workers in white protective suits were removed the bodies of four passengers in the cars burned, so the number of people who died after a semi tractor-trailer crashed into an Amtrak train to six on Saturday.
The researchers plan to review the background of the driver of the tractor-trailer that crashed into the side of an Amtrak train Friday in a railroad crossing east of Reno, Nevada
“Researchers will look at driving the truck driver and medical records and autopsy results to determine whether drugs were involved,” said National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson ABC affiliate KOLO-TV in Reno.
“It will also check to make sure the lights and railway crossing gates were working,” he said.
According to the Nevada State Police that the driver tried to break at the last minute, but was unable to stop.
The Nevada Highway Patrol said that at least five people have died and there are fears that more deaths occur as researchers gain further access to the scene.
Friday investigators had trouble accessing the cars burning to discover if they could locate survivors or additional victims.
Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Lopez told ABC News on Friday that 18 to 20 people were transported to hospitals for treatment of buses.
Local media reported “dozens” of people were injured, including some taken by helicopter to trauma centers.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari in Oakland, California, told The Associated Press that 204 passengers and 14 crew were aboard the California Zephyr’s route from Chicago to Emeryville, California, which is about 300 kilometers west of the site of accident.
Preliminary investigation and witness statements indicated the truck driver going north on U.S. 95 and the gates were in operation and flashes before the collision. Witnesses said it appeared the driver tried to brake at the last minute but could not.
What is confusing is that the witnesses suggest that at least at the gates of the signal that they were working, although it is unclear whether the lights were working as well, researchers said.
The NTSB sent a “go-team” to investigate Friday’s crash.
A passenger on the train ABC News describes what happened when the truck hit the train, believed to be traveling at nearly 80 miles per hour.
“We were driving along the train and a truck apparently decided that he would run the stop in the middle of the desert – nothing here for miles,” said Jim Bickley ABC News. “[It] hit the side of the car of Amtrak. He was a passenger car with people in it.
“My wife and I were in the fourth car, the car of observation,” he said. “We felt a jolt and a big ball of fire went through the window on the left with a lot of black smoke. People were shouting.
“There were a lot of smoke so we decided to stick his head through a door and saw the train on fire,” said Bickley.
Passengers Celia Levac was with her child in the wagon train hit the truck.
“My son is the only thing that grabbed me when it happened,” said Levac. “Everything happened so fast.”
Two of the cars caught fire while passersby on the highway stopped to help. The local and state police, and rescue teams rushed to the scene. A nearby Naval Air Station also sent helicopters to evacuate the wounded.
The accident at 11:20 a.m. PT Friday close a section of U.S. 95 between Interstate 80 and Fallon, Nevada
Amtrak set a phone number where friends and relatives of people aboard the train could search for information – 800-523-9101.
Collisions at railroad crossings are not uncommon. Security groups estimate that in the United States train collides with a person or a vehicle about every three hours.
In 2010 there were over 2,000 collisions between vehicles and trains at railroad crossings, according to LifeSafer operation.
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