September 13, 2008

At Least 10 Dead in LA Trainwreck

At least 10 people were killed when a Los Angeles commuter train collided head on with a freight train during the Friday afternoon rush hour.

The two trains rammed together, leaving at least one car on the Metrolink train wrapped around the Union Pacific freight engine, the Los Angeles Times reported. A fire broke out and at least two commuter cars derailed.

The commuter train was believed to be carrying about 400 people.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told CNN late Friday 10 fatalities had been confirmed but it was likely the death toll would increase as rescue workers disentangle the wreckage. Whitemire said at least 47 people were critically injured and at least 40 were severely critically injured and transported to critical care facilities.

One of the fatalities is believed to be the Metrolink engineer, the Los Angeles Times reported. Officials confirmed another of the fatalities was a Los Angeles Police Department officer.

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who was on the train at the time of the 4:30 p.m. collision alerted authorities about the crash, the Times said.