March 20, 2023

Dozens injured in California truck-train crossing accident

California Amtrak Train Crash

by admin on October 20, 2012

About 39 passengers were injured earlier this month when a semi tractor-trailer truck collided with an Amtrak train near Hanford, California. The truck, carrying cotton trash, failed to yield and was struck by the passenger train around noon Monday, October 1, 2012.

Of the 169 passengers aboard the train, 19 had minor injuries and 11 suffered moderate injuries. While most of the wounds consisted of minor bumps and bruises, at least one passenger suffered a broken leg.

A locomotive engine was pushing the train at the time of the crash. The truck hit between the locomotive and the last car of the train. Although the crossing gate was down, lights were flashing, and bells were ringing at the time of the accident, the truck crashed through the gate and into the train. Four cars and the locomotive were caused to derail.

The train was traveling from Oakland to Bakersfield when the accident occurred, likely traveling at about 70 to 80 mph. According to the California Highway Patrol it traveled about 600 feet after the collision, hit a switchback, and derailed. Investigators found metal pieces from the truck inside the train as well as cotton seeds from the truck’s cargo. Luggage from inside the train was scattered around the scenec of the crash.

Thirteen ambulances arrived on the scene to take injured passengers to area hospitals. Spokespersons for some local hospitals confirmed that they had to call in additional staff to deal with the influx of patients. Uninjured passengers were put on school buses and taken into Hanford until Amtrak could arrange for their transportation over the remaining 85 miles to Bakersfield.

Emergency crews cleanup of gasoline spilling from the train carried on into the next day. The track, owned by Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF), was closed for a day to replace several hundred feet of damaged track and warning signal equipment. A bus bridge carried passengers between Bakersfield and Oakland for the morning Los Angeles metro rush hour.

An Amtrak spokeswoman told the AP that the train crew had been given relief from duty as well as counseling to help them deal with the shock of the accident. The truck driver, Macario Medina, 32, of McFarland, CA, suffered moderate injuries. Investigation into the causes of the accident is ongoing, although it has been established that the signaling equipment—barriers, lights, and bells—was in working condition. Operator error on the part of the truck driver remains a possible cause.

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