Brentwood, AR Trains Collide, Oct 2014
TRAIN WRECKS ON FALL FOLIAGE TOUR, LANDS 15 IN HOSPITAL.
Brentwood, Ark. - Fifteen patients remain hospitalized Thursday evening after a passenger train and a second train collided earlier in the day in the Ozarks, authorities said.
Forty-four people and six crew members were on the trains that hit a little before 10:40 a.m. CT near the unincorporated community of Brentwood, about 130 miles northwest of Little Rock and 15 miles south of Fayetteville, Ark.
About three dozen people were able to walk away from the wreck with injuries that were less serious, said John Luther, Washington County's emergency management director.
Those hospitalized have injuries that range from head wounds to lacerations, said Gina Maddox, spokeswoman for Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.
"I'm so happy to tell you all are in stable condition," she said.
A train on an eight-hour fall-foliage excursion from Springdale, Ark., to VanBuren, Ark., and back apparently had stalled on the tracks, Luther said. Then a second train called to assist hit the first.
"It's one of the more mountainous areas of our county," Luther said. Train tracks run close to the West Fork of the White River, and U.S. 71, which was closed for a few hours after the accident, roughly parallels to the east.
The Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, which operates a 140-mile route from Monett, Mo., to Fort Smith, Ark., owns the tracks where the wreck occurred. The company operates both freight and passenger
service, using refurbished antique cars to transport tourists, according to its website.
A conductor on one of the trains was airlifted from the scene with possible back injuries, railroad spokesman Ron Sparks said.
About 300 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the two trains, Luther said. But crews were able to contain the spill before it reached the river.
"Everything's fine in that regard,"
he said. "Thank goodness it's not going to contaminate the waterway."
Two engines and four railroad cars are damaged.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation and the NTSB said its investigators are heading to the scene. Rick Fahr, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman, said it is unclear whether the trains crashed head on.
USA Today Article 2014-10-16