5 critically hurt after trains collide in Arkansas

AP News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 6:52 PM

WINSLOW, Ark. (AP) — A freight train collided with a sight-seeing passenger train in northwest Arkansas on Thursday, injuring more than a dozen people, authorities said.

The passenger train was carrying tourists on a fall-foliage tour in the Ozark Mountains when the accident occurred near Winslow, about 175 miles northwest of Little Rock. Five people were critically hurt, including a conductor who was airlifted from the scene to a hospital with possible back injuries, Arkansas & Missouri Railroad spokesman Ron Sparks said.

A total of 50 people were on the two trains, though 37 were able to walk away from the accident, Washington County Emergency Management Director John Luther said.

Fifteen patients were being treated at Washington Regional Medical Center, where spokeswoman Gina Maddox said late Thursday that the patients' injuries ranged from head wounds to lacerations.

"I'm so happy to tell you all are in stable condition," she said.

It remains unclear whether the trains crashed head-on or if they were using the same track before the collision occurred, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Rick Fahr said. He said the collision also resulted in a spill of about 300 gallons of diesel fuel.

The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigators are heading to the scene.