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Texas train hits veteran parade truck, kills four

Texas, Nov 17 (): Four people died and seventeen people were wounded when a cargo train crashed into parade float with wounded veterans at a rail crossing in the city of Midland, in Texas.

The parade float was one of the two tractor-trailers, which were carrying the wounded veterans with their families to attend an honorary feast during the Show of Support’s Hunt for the Heroes parade on Thursday afternoon. It was slammed by a Union Pacific train that approached few minutes after 4:30 p.m. just when the parade was about to cross the tracks, said the witnesses and officials.

Two of them died on the spot and two people died at the Midland Memorial Hospital, Price Robinson, Police Chief of Midland said. Totally, seventeen people were taken to the memorial hospital, where 10 were released after treatment. Four people are in steady condition and one person was said to be in a critical condition till this morning.

Nearly two dozen veterans with their spouses were seated in the chairs on back of flatbed tractor-trailer, which was decorated with the American flags.

The first tractor-trailer crossed the railway tracks at the perfect time, but second truck did not, said Hamid Vatankhah, one of the witnesses who is the owner of a used car lot near the scene of the crash.

Vatankhah said sirens of police cars in the long parade might have drowned the sound of approaching train. “Some people jumped, while some who were sitting on top in wheelchairs could not do anything,” Vatankhah added.

Tom Lange, spokesman of Union Pacific said it appeared safety devices found at crash spot were working. There were differing reports by the eyewitnesses about the downed gates at crossing when train approached the crossing.

The National Transportation Safety Board has launched investigation into this drastic accident. When they observe the black box of the train, investigators will be able to determine the speed of the train, as well as whether the train’s horn was sounded prior to the accident.