4 killed, dozens hurt as train bar­rels into bus

New Straits Times - - World -

BILOXI (Mis­sis­sippi): A freight train slammed into a char­ter bus at a rail­road cross­ing in Biloxi, Mis­sis­sippi, on Tues­day, killing four peo­ple on the bus and leav­ing dozens in­jured, of­fi­cials said.

City of­fi­cials said the tour bus, which orig­i­nated in Austin, Texas, and was head­ing to a casino, was stopped on the tracks for an un­known rea­son.

Biloxi city spokesman Vincent Creel con­firmed the cross­ing had signs warn­ing of its low ground clear­ance, warn­ing that a large ve­hi­cle could po­ten­tially be­come lodged on the tracks.

But he could not say if that was what oc­curred, adding that fed­eral au­thor­i­ties would lead the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Three peo­ple on the bus were killed in the col­li­sion and a fourth per­son died af­ter be­ing trans­ported from the scene, Biloxi Po­lice Chief John Miller said.

More than 40 pas­sen­gers on the bus were trans­ported to area hos­pi­tals.

The crash came on the heels of an ef­fort by Biloxi Mayor An­drew “FoFo” Gilich to close some rail cross­ings, with the stated goal of im­prov­ing safety in the tourist hub with a pop­u­la­tion of 45,000 peo­ple on the Gulf of Mex­ico.

But this cross­ing, the site of an­other wreck be­tween a train and a truck on Jan 5, was not one of those se­lected for pos­si­ble clo­sure, he said.

City of­fi­cials and CSX, which op­er­ated the train, said Biloxi with its many rail­road cross­ings had a high num­ber of train crashes for the re­gion.

The bus trip was spon­sored by Bas­trop Se­nior Cen­tre, Bar­bara Ad­kins, pres­i­dent of the Texas fa­cil­ity, said by phone.

The pas­sen­gers were mem­bers of the cen­tre, along with rel­a­tives and friends, she said.

Wit­ness Sue Perkins said the coach ap­peared to get stuck be­cause it was too long for the steep an­gle of the hill at the cross­ing. The cross­ing’s red lights lit up and the safety gates de­scended with the bus stuck on the tracks, Perkins said.

Then she saw the train in the dis­tance and the con­duc­tor sounded the horn but could not stop in time.

“There was a big wa­ter­fall of glass from the bus in the ac­ci­dent,” she said.

AFP PIC

The scene of a tour bus and train crash in Biloxi, Mis­sis­sippi, on Tues­day.

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