16 Hospitalized, Four Veterans Killed in Train Wreck in Midland - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

16 Hospitalized, Four Veterans Killed in Train Wreck in Midland

UPDATE: NTSB PRESS CONFERENCE

Mark Rosekind, with the NTSB says, they are responding to this accident with 16 members of the "Go Team". Those team members are from Texas, Colorado, California, and Washington DC. The lead investigator is Robert Accetta. He has 20 years of experience with NTSB. His team is going to be looking at seven different aspects that play into this crash, including railroad signals,

human performance, survival factors, etc. The Union Pacific Train involved in the crash was heading from Los Angeles, CA to Shreveport , LA. It had two locomotive units and 84 loaded cards. It was 7, 243 feet long. NTSB is investigating the cause of the accident, but the Midland Police Department is in charge of looking into the fatalities and injuries. Investigators have not determined whether the crossing arms and the lights were properly functioning. There are numerous recording devices they are looking at. The First train had an image recorder and each locomotive has event recorders, which look at aspects like speed, breaking, and the horn. There was also a Sheriff's car behind the float with dash cam video and investigators will be reviewing that. All of the video is being collected. There is an airplane here that is on standby that is ready to take the collected evidence back to Washington DC. Investigators will be here from 7 to 10 days collecting evidence. It could take a year before the full investigation is complete. One of the big questions asked during the press conference was whether or not Union Pacific issued a track bulletin for the parade. Right now we still don't know the answer to that.

Last year there were 16 fatal train accidents in Texas, putting it at number 3 in the nation, when it comes to train related fatalities. Another press conference will be held at 4:30 this afternoon.
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UPDATE: Officials with National Transportation Safety Board will be taking over the train accident investigation for Union Pacific. We're told Officials with NTSB will be on the ground in Midland within an hour. They are working to coordinate a press conference. We'll keep you updated.

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UPDATE: One person was discharged from the hospital last night. Four remain in the hospital; one is in critical condition, three are stable, and one, who was transported to Lubbock, has been downgraded to serious condition.

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PRESS RELEASE FROM THE CITY OF MIDLAND:

On November 15th, 2012, at approximately 4:36 p.m., the Midland Police Department, along with EMS were dispatched involving a train collision.

The preliminary investigation shows that the Hunt For Heroes parade was traveling westbound on Wall Street when it tuned south on Garfield Street crossing the train tracks. The last two floats in the parade were carrying the heroes and their spouses. The first flatbed crossed the train tracks completely; the second did not make it across before being struck by the train. The Union Pacific Train was traveling eastbound when it struck the float.

Some of those who were riding on the second trailer attempted to evacuate before the train collision. There were 26 people on the flatbed when it was struck by the train. They included 12 heroes, 12 spouses, and two escorts.

Currently there are four fatalities, two at the scene and two died at Midland Memorial Hospital. The injured were transported to Midland Memorial Hospital. As of 9:30 p.m., 10 victims have been treated and released, five remain at the hospital (four in stable, one in critical), and one has been airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock.

The incident is currently under investigation. Investigators are attempting to notify the next of kin. More information will be distributed as updates are available.

INFORMATION FROM UNION PACIFIC:

Union Pacific tells NewsWest 9, the crossing gate and the lights were working at the time. The train did sound its horn before hitting the float. There were only two conductors on board the train, and they are not injured. However, they will be going to counseling due to the traumatic nature of the incident.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

      *  9:00am at the Midland Centennial Plaza, Mayor Wes Perry, along with pastors Patrick     
           Payton and Roy Smith, invites the public to a community wide prayer vigil to help show  
           support for the victims and their families that have been affected by this tragedy.

  • The motorcycle group escorting the soldiers from the airport on Wednesday, and were in front of the float when the accident happened, will be holding a prayer vigil. The Patriot Guard will be meeting Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. outside the Hilton.
  • B93, KODM, LoneStar 92 and KBAT are giving you the opportunity to help the victims of Thursday's tragedy. We will be live at the Taco Villa location on Midland Dr and Andrews Hwy in Midland on Friday morning taking monetary donations, beginning at 6:30 am. Town Square Cares for the families of the Hunt For Hero's tragedy. Benny Boyd Chevrolet, The Darville Company, Complex Community Federal Credit Union, Walker Air Conditioning, Dr. Robin Rutherford, as well as the Tull and Watkins families have already to come together. An account has been set up at Complex Community Federal Union for your donations. You can also donate at any Complex Community Federal Credit Union location; if you would like to write a check, please make the check out to CCFU and write FBO SOS on the memo line. Western National Bank has also established an account for Hunt for Heroes. You can stop by any Western National Bank branch. Their staff will have the necessary information.  If you would like to mail in a donation:

          Western National Bank

          Hunt for Heroes

          P.O. Box 61250

          Midland, Texas 79711

    If you would like to speak with someone at Western National Bank about a donation, please call

    432-617-1314.

  • We're being told that United Blood Services is going to need donations from people in the coming weeks. If you want to donate on Friday, you can go to their Odessa location which is located right across from Target off of 42nd Street. Their office is going to be open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
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