BAXTER, Calif. – Searchers found a second crew member dead amid the scorched and crumpled cars of a maintenance train Friday, a day after the train derailed and sparked a fire in the Sierra Nevada.
The discovery brings the death toll to two, ranking it among the deadliest Union Pacificcrashes in California in recent years. Eight other crew members suffered minor injuries.
Investigators said it would take until Monday to positively identify the victims because of the condition of the bodies.
"One was in a burned out car and one was in the wreckage," Placer County Sheriff's Lt. Chal DeCecco said. "We're going to have to do dental records on one person, and we may be able to do fingerprinting on the second person."
The crash spilled thousands of gallons of fuel in a forested area about 60 miles east of Sacramento and sparked a fire, but firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze late Thursday. Crews worked through the night to clean up the site.
One track was reopened to limited train service Friday, and officials hoped to have the second along the heavily used east-west route open by Friday evening.
"They're going to have to replace 1,400 feet of track that was damaged in the derailment," said Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Mark Davis.
The cause of the derailment was being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The maintenance train's crew, which included one Union Pacific employee and nine contract workers, was working on the tracks about two miles south of Interstate 80 when six of the 10 rail cars derailed around 11 a.m. The train was carrying 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 6,000 gallons of hydraulic fluid, acetylene, oxygen and propane.
"This is a huge spill," said Tina Rose, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "That is a lot of hazardous materials."
The contract workers were employed by Harsco Track Technologies of South Carolina. Company spokesman Ken Julian said he had no information about injured employees.
Two Amtrak trains were blocked Thursday by the wreckage, said spokeswoman Vernae Graham. An eastbound train was forced to stop in Sacramento and a westbound train stopped in Sparks, Nev., affecting about 260 passengers who were taken across the Sierra on buses, she said.