Two Union Pacific operators were killed when their freight train crashed into parked rail cars and derailed early Thursday in Southern California, officials said.
The freight train had been traveling through the desert near the Salton Sea when it pulled off the main railroad around 3 a.m., said Susan Stevens, a spokesperson for Union Pacific.
As the freight train pulled onto a siding — an alternate railway typically used for trains to pull over to allow oncoming traffic to go by — it hit several parked rail cars, Stevens told the Los Angeles Times.
Seven cars derailed and both operators were ejected from the train and died at the scene, the Times reported.
First responders with the city of Calipatria told the newspaper they arrived to find the derailed locomotive and the wreckage of the four parked rail cars it had plowed through.
The Imperial County coroner’s office identified the two workers only as adult males, as officials worked to notify their next of kin.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to investigate the crash.