Oct 2, 2012 / 5:54 am
Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak passenger train carrying about 169 passengers derailed Monday after colliding with a semi-truck in California's Central Valley, authorities said.
At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries, authorities said.
The crash occurred when the driver of the tractor-trailer carrying cotton trash failed to yield and hit the train, authorities said. The impact pushed the two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks south of Hanford, a farming town.
The train travelled about 180 metres after the collision before hitting a switchback and derailing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Harris.
Officials have not determined how fast the train or the truck were going, but the average speed for Amtrak through the area is 113 km/h to 129 km/h, while the speed limit on the roadway where the truck was travelling is 89 km/h, Harris said.
After the crash, metal pieces from the truck could be seen inside the train, which was covered by cotton seeds. Several pieces of luggage were also scattered about.
The injuries to passengers were described as bumps, bruises, scrapes and possibly broken bones by Kings County Assistant Sheriff Dave Putnam.
The crash occurred at a crossing that was equipped with control gates, Putnam said.
The train was on its way from Oakland to Bakersfield, according to Amtrak. It had four rail cars and a locomotive.
The truck driver suffered minor injuries, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Jerry Pierce. The CHP will investigate the crash.
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