In the accident, an Amtrak train slammed into a stationary CSX freight train at 2:35 a.m.
Amtrak Train 91 was heading southbound and should have continued straight along the tracks, but the rail switch had been manually set to send the train onto the rail siding, where the CSX train was parked, NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said Sunday.
- March 14, 2016: An Amtrak train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago derailed in southwest Kansas, sending five cars off the tracks and injuring at least 32 people.
Killed were two Amtrak employees: train engineer Michael Kempf, 54, of Savannah, Georgia, and a conductor, Michael Cella, 36 of Orange Park, Florida, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said.
An Amtrak train leaves the Harrison station in New Jersey in November 2012. CSX is the owner of the track but Amtrak uses the line.
The crash is still being investigated. A Positive Train Control system on at this location would have likely prevented the crash.
"It's a awful thing to see, to understand the force this involved", McMaster said, referring to the crash site.
The worst rail tragedy in recent SC history took place in 2005 when a freight engineer parked a train on a side track near a textile mill in Graniteville and forgot to flip the switch back to keep trains on the main track. He said he asked her to repeat herself three times when she said her train had derailed. Two of those patients are expected to be admitted to the hospital. "The injuries range from cuts and bruises to severe broken bones", said Derrec Becker, public information officer for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division.
Derek Pettaway, a passenger in one of the cars near the end of the train, told CNN that he was asleep at the time of the impact.
The Amtrak's engineer and conductor died and 116 people were injured in the crash early on Sunday.
It was the second major Amtrak incident in less than a week.
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