Jesus Take The Wheel: Amtrak Train Crash Leaves 6 Dead And 5 Missing

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Categories: Jesus Take The Wheel, News, SMH

California Zephyr

This is crazy:

Authorities say five people remained unaccounted for following a fiery crash involving a big rig and an Amtrak train in the Nevada desert, but investigators say they’ve yet to find any more bodies in the wreck that left six dead.

Amtrak lowered the number of unaccounted passengers Sunday, a day after authorities said they couldn’t locate 28 of the more than 200 passengers believed to be on board at the time of the collision Friday. The company also said 14 crew members were on the California Zephyr from Chicago.

Churchill County coroner officials sifted through the rubble of two rail cars gutted by the fire that sparked after the truck slammed into the side of the train. Investigators said they have found no additional victims.

The blaze was so hot that authorities “want to make sure they are not missing anything,” so the coroner’s office has asked at least one forensic anthropologist to help, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen said.

“They want to figure out if there are any more bodies and if so, how many,” Allen said. “They want to rule out the possibility that, yes there are more, or that no, there are not.”

Earl Weener, a National Transportation Safety Board member, has said there were unaccounted passengers because some of them may have gotten off the train before the crash or walked away from the scene without checking with officials. Unlike airplane travel with seat records, “on a train, you can get off without necessarily being tracked,” he said. The driver of the truck, a conductor and four others on the train were killed when the semi-trailer truck plowed into the California Zephyr at a highway crossing about 70 miles east of Reno. The big rig, the lead in a three-truck convoy, skidded about 320 feet before smashing through the crossing gates.

Investigators looked for clues as to why the driver failed to stop before the crossing, which had its gates down and warning lights on. Weener said examining the truck tractor has been difficult because part of it was
stuck in a rail car.

Weener said that the flashing lights at the crossing, which were set to blink for 25 seconds before a train approaches, would have been visible from a half-mile away if a motorist was driving at the highway’s 70-mph speed limit.

Toxicology and autopsy results of the driver were due within days. Allen said authorities would consider “not necessarily just drugs or alcohol, but fatigue, driver inattention.” Two other truck drivers in the convoy and the train’s engineer watched the semitrailer skid the length of a football field before crashing into the train. The other drivers stopped when they saw the gates come down and the warning lights go off as the California Zephyr approached, Weener said. The driver of the big rig in the lead did not.

The train’s engineer slammed on the emergency brakes, but the train, which was going about 78 mph in an 80-mph zone, traveled a half-mile more before it finally stopped, Weener said. The man watched “the collision in a rearview mirror. He was hoping the train was not going to derail.”

Damn. Hopefully they find the missing individuals so their families can move on..

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