Federal investigators on scene of Amtrak collision

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 25, 2011 1:48 PM
Federal investigators on scene of Amtrak collision

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Federal transportation safety investigators on Saturday were at the scene of a crash between a tractor-trailer rig and an Amtrak train in Nevada, where they say more bodies may still be found in the wreckage.

At least two people have been confirmed killed and dozens injured in the collision on U.S. Route 95 east of Reno, the Nevada Highway Patrol said.

A Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman said further fatalities may be discovered during a search of burned-out train cars.

"Preliminary reports are that there have been fatalities to passengers, an Amtrak train crew member and the operator of the truck," Amtrak said in a statement.

An Amtrak spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the statement.

More than 70 people were taken to local hospitals with injuries, several of them listed in serious or critical condition. Others were treated and released.

Authorities say the driver of the truck crashed through closed rail crossing gates and ignored warning lights before colliding with the train, which was en route from Chicago to Emeryville, California with more than 200 passengers on board.

The fiery crash sent a plume of black smoke billowing into the air over the scene.

"The truck did in fact strike the train at the fourth car and according to witness statements the gates and lights were operational," Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Dan Lopez told Reuters.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)