4 Dead as Train Hits Vets' Parade
Four people died and 17 others were taken to a hospital when a train crashed into a parade float honoring veterans in Midland, Texas, late this afternoon.
"From what we know right now, apparently there were two fatalities at the time of the incident and two more at the hospital that passed away after they'd been transported," Midland Police Chief Price Robinson said.
Midland Memorial Hospital confirmed the four deaths to ABC News.
Of the 17 injured at the hospital, 10 were in critical condition and seven were in stable condition, Robinson said.
The float was one of two 18-wheel trailers carrying wounded veterans and their families during the parade when a train approached, according to Hamid Vatankhah, a witness who owns a used car lot near the scene of the crash.
The first truck crossed the tracks in time, but the second did not, Vatankhah said, adding that sirens from the police cars in the parade may have drowned out the sound of the approaching train.
"Some people were able to jump, and some that were sitting in wheelchairs on top couldn't do nothing about it," Vatankhah said.
The floats in the Show of Support's Hunt for Heroes parade were crossing Union Pacific train tracks at Garfield Street and Industrial Avenue en route to a Show of Support Banquet around 4:35 p.m. local time, according to ABC News affiliate KMID-TV.
A Union Pacific spokesman said the eastbound train was sounding its horn before the accident and the crossing gate and lights were working, according to The Associated Press.
Witnesses said the gate did not go down before the floats got to the tracks, KMID reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board was launching a team to the site to investigate the crash. It expected to have investigators at the site this evening and a full team on site by Friday.