Nearly 30 people were injured after an Amtrak passenger train collided with a truck Monday afternoon in Hanford.
According to the Kings County Sheriff’s Department, a cotton hauling big rig was traveling westbound on Kansas Avenue at 12:20 p.m. when it failed to stop at the marked crossing and smashed into the side of the train, forcing three of the four train cars to disconnect from the track.
In a released statement from Amtrak, the truck reportedly drove through the railroad crossing despite obvious warning lights, bells, and gates signaling the approaching train.
The Amtrak passenger train, Train 712, was traveling south from Oakland to Bakersfield, and had about 169 passengers on board at the time of the accident.
It was a fairly high speed collision which caused the train to derail and stop about a half a mile south of the initial hit,” said Assistant Sheriff Dave Putnam.
11 people on board suffered moderate injuries and another 19 received minor ones. A total of thirteen ambulances were called to the scene to take the injured passengers to various area hospitals.
Unhurt passengers were ferried into a fleet of school buses which took them to Hanford’s civic center while Amtrak worked out arrangements to get them all to their final destinations.
Emergency workers were needed on the scene to help clean a diesel fuel spill from the train’s engine. Cleanup crews were also called to clear the area of debris and cotton and begin the process of removing the downed train from the tracks to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.
At the time the cause of the accident remains a mystery. Investigators are combing over the scene and interviewing witnesses and passengers to gain a better understanding of what may have happened.
Train crossings are specifically designed to stop accidents like these. Their ringing bells, flashing lights, and lowering gates clearly signify an approaching train, and drivers should stay well clear of the area, lest a serious collision like this takes place.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a train accident like this, there are legal options available to help you recover compensation from those at fault. Through the help of a highly trained Los Angeles train accident lawyer, you can be awarded what you need to mend the damages you’ve sustained in your ordeal.
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