A head-on collision between two trains travelling on parallel tracks in the Texas Panhandle region left at least one person injured and a massive fire.
One of the trains is reported to be a BNSF Railroad freight train. The identification of the second train was not initially known but BNSF confirmed the second train is also theirs, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Carson County Sheriff Loren Brand confirmed that at least one person has been injured and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. ABC7 in Amarillo reported on Tuesday morning.
That man was reported by BNSF spokesman Joe Faust one of the four crew members of the two trains. The other three crew members are reported to be missing at this time. The injured crew member’s condition is not being reported.
The sheriff reported the fire is too intense at this time to find any other people who may be injured or deceased.
Sergeant Dan Buesing, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said collisions between trains and trucks are not that uncommon in the Texas Panhandle. He told the Associated Press (AP) that the magnitude of this crash was startling.
The two trains collided at about 8:40 a.m. on Tuesday morning. The collision occurred about five miles east of the town of Panhandle, Texas. The community of about 2,500 people is located approximately 30 miles northeast of Amarillo.
In the eyewitness video below, shot by Martin and Sonya New, the trains can be seen derailing in a cloud of dust that is followed by billowing black smoke.
Fighting the fire is diminishing the City of Panhandle’s water supply, the Amarillo ABC affiliate reported. City officials asked residents to cut back on all sprinkler systems to conserve water.
The ABC7 news crews at the scene were twice instructed to evacuate the scene for safety at about 11 a.m. Traffic on U.S. Highway 60 has been shut down and is being re-routed because of the smoke. Residents living near the crash are being asked to evacuate as well.
Officials with the Federal Railroad Administration are already on the scene of the crash to begin an investigation as to the cause, according to spokesman Matthew Lehner, the AP reported.
One local resident who farms in the area, Billy Brown, said he saw the fireball erupt after the collision. “I don’t know how anyone survived,” Brown told the AP. “It’s terrible. I’ve seen a number of train wrecks but I’ve never seen one like this.”