Train crash in US injures 16 people

2011-10-13 11:52
San Francisco - An Amtrak train crashed into another train unloading passengers at a station in California, leaving 16 people with mainly minor injuries, authorities said.

The crash occurred late on Wednesday as the passenger train, travelling at a speed of up to about 32km/h, struck the stationary Amtrak train at the station in Oakland, city Fire Department battalion chief Emon Usher said.

Usher said the company told him that train went through a red light.

"According to the Amtrak representative, the train travelling should have never continued past the red signal," Usher said.

Most of the injuries were minor, but several people were taken to local hospitals, Usher said.

‘Low speed’ collision

Amtrak spokesperson Cliff Cole said he could not comment on the report of the train running a red light.

He described the crash as a "low speed" collision between Amtrak's San Joaquin, a train that operates between Bakersfield to Oakland, and the Coast Starlight, a train from Los Angeles to Seattle

He said the wheels of each lead engine went off the track.

Authorities said there were injured on both trains, but there was no breakdown on how many from each.

Alton Smith, a passenger on one of the trains, told television station KTVU that he felt "an awful jolt" from the impact.

Another person, identified by television station CBS5 as Miesha Anderson, told the station that she heard "a big bang like a bomb".

She told the station that she thought a forklift had hit the train.

"We didn't even think that another train had hit the train," she said.

Refunds

About two hours after the crash, some 50 passengers were gathered inside the train terminal, talking to Amtrak officials, while Amtrak and local officials inspected the two trains.

Amtrak officials said train traffic has been temporarily suspended at the station.

Passengers who paid for travel on cancelled trains can contact Amtrak to receive refunds without fees or penalties, according to Amtrak.

The crash is the second significant incident in two weeks in the San Francisco East Bay area where there were injuries to Amtrak passengers.

On September 30, 37 passengers and two crew members sustained minor to moderate injuries when an Amtrak passenger train collided with a truck at a crossing near Brentwood where there were no lights or gates.

The driver of the truck and a passenger inside were not hurt.

- AP
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