At least 17 people were injured Wednesday night during a head-on Amtrak train crash in Oakland.
• A slow-moving train crashed head-on into another train that was stopped to let passengers on and off the train at a station in Oakland.
• The moving train is believed to have run a red light. Both lead engines derailed.
• At least 17 people, including passengers and crew members, were injured.
Initial news reports estimated that 16 people were injured in the “low-speed collision” in Oakland’s Jack London Square, but Amtrak revised the count after compiling numbers overnight, company spokesman Cliff Cole said Thursday morning.
Oakland Fire Department battalion chief Emon Usher said Amtrak’s San Joaquin train, which runs between Bakersfield and Oakland, collided with the Coast Starlight train that runs from Los Angeles to Seattle. Both trains derailed, in that the wheels on their lead engines went off the track.
It appears that the Coast Starlight — which was traveling at 15 to 20 mph – crashed into the San Joaquin, which was stopped at the station near Webster Street and Embarcadero to allow passengers to get on or off the train. Usher said company officials told him the Coast Starlight ran a red light.
“According to the Amtrak representative, the train traveling should have never continued past the red signal,” Usher told the Associated Press in a report published in the Oakland Tribune.
The company declined to comment on the report of the train running a red light.
Alton Smith, a passenger on one of the trains, told KTVU he felt an “awful jolt” from the impact. Miesha Anderson told CBS News she heard a “big bang, like a bomb.” She said she thought a forklift had hit the train.
“We didn’t even think that another train had hit the train,” Anderson said.
Cole said ”several” people, including passengers and crew members, suffered injuries he described as minor.
“None of them are considered to be life-threatening,” Cole said.
About 45 emergency personnel responded to the scene. Fire officials said some of the victims were deliberately immobilized by emergency medical personnel as a precaution in case of spinal injuries. One person suffered a broken arm. Some were suspected to have neck injuries. There are several conflicting reports as to how many people were hospitalized.
Service was stopped at the station, although Amtrak did offer bus service to some passengers, according to some reports. As much as two hours after the crash, about 50 passengers were still gathered inside the train terminal while Amtrak and local officials inspected the two trains.
Amtrak and Union Pacific Freight Railroad, which owns the tracks, are cooperating with federal officials in the crash investigation.
This was the second Amtrak injury accident in the Bay Area in the past two weeks. On September 30, a train crashed into a truck in Brentwood. The accident occurred at a crossing where there were no lights or gates. Two crew members and 37 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries in that train crash.
Here are more photos from the crash. Click on the thumbnail to see the image full-size:
Oakland Train Crash Lawyers
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