At Least 17 Injured When Two Trains Collide in California
SAN FRANCISCO – An Amtrak train traveling 15 to 20 mph crashed into a train unloading passengers at an Oakland station, injuring 17 people, Amtrak and fire officials said.
All the injuries in the crash around 10 p.m. Wednesday were considered minor and non-life-threatening. Several people were taken to local hospitals, Oakland Fire Department battalion chief Emon Usher said.
Authorities originally reported 16 injures. But Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said Thursday the company arrived at the higher figure after compiling numbers overnight.
Service at the station remained suspended early Thursday.
Usher said company officials told him the train that hit the stationary Amtrak train had gone through a red light.
"According to the Amtrak representative, the train traveling should have never continued past the red signal," Usher told The Associated Press. "It's an equivalent to a red light."
Cole said he could not comment on the report of the train running a red light.
He described the crash as a "low-speed" collision between Amtrak's "San Joaquin," a train that operates between Bakersfield to Oakland, and Amtrak's Coast Starlight, a train from Los Angeles to Seattle.
He said the wheels of each lead engine went off the track.
Amtrak and the owner of the tracks, Union Pacific Freight Railroad, plan to work with federal officials to investigate the crash, according to Amtrak.
Alton Smith, a passenger on one of the trains, told television station KTVU he felt an "awful jolt" from the impact.
Another person, identified by television station CBS5 as Miesha Anderson, told the station she heard a "big bang, like a bomb." She told the station she thought a forklift had hit the train.
"We didn't even think that another train had hit the train," she said.
A couple of hours after the crash, about 50 passengers were gathered inside the train terminal, talking to Amtrak officials, while Amtrak and local officials inspected the two trains.
Passengers who paid for travel on canceled trains can contact Amtrak to receive a refund without fee or penalty, the company said.
The crash is the second significant incident in two weeks in the San Francisco East Bay area where there were injuries to Amtrak passengers.
On Sept. 30, 37 passengers and two crew members suffered minor to moderate injuries when an Amtrak passenger train collided with a truck at a crossing near Brentwood where there were no lights or gates.
The driver of the truck and a passenger inside were not hurt.