Friday, June 24, 2011

At Least 3 Killed as Amtrak Train Collides With Dump Truck in Rural Nevada

Ron Almgren photo courtesey of Reno Gazette-Journal
Amtrak's Westbound California Zephyr was struck at a crossing by a gravel truck in Churchill County, NV on Friday morning at a grade corssing on the Union Pacific mainline northeast of Reno, NV, killing at least three people.
So far 104 passengers have been transported from the scene of a train and tractor-trailer crash in north Churchill County, authorities said.

Both Care Flight and a U.S. Navy helicopter have landed at Renown Regional Medical Center and dropped off patients.

Other passengers have been taken to a Fernley elementary school.

The vehicle that hit the train was a bottom-dumping gravel trasport, said Bob Knoll of the Reno Fire Department.
The train caught fire after the truck hit the second or third passenger car, Knoll said. It appeared the contents of the passenger car were what caught fire.
The Union Pacific, which owns the tracks the Zephyr was operating on was assessing whether or not to open up the paralell former Western Pacific mainline to bi-directional traffic while investigators from the NTSB review the accident scene.

The driver of the gravel truck was also killed in the collision.

UPDATE: A spokesman for the Nevada Highway Patrol said that the crossing where the collision occurred had both flashing lights and arms that raised and lowered whenever a train approached.

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