A truck has crashed into a passenger train on Cheat Mountain in eastern West Virginia yesterday, killing one person and injuring 66 others.
The truck driver has been killed in the impact, WCHSTV reported. The logging truck crashed in Randolph County, on U.S. Route 250, at about 1:30 p.m.
The driver has been identified as Danny Kimble, of Durbin. The Pocahontas Times details that he smashed into a Cheat Mountain Salamander, train operated by the West Virginia Central Railroad.
“It is a tragedy because there is a lot of tourism that is brought to West Virginia because of this company. [...] It is just unfortunate,” Sandy Burky, director of passenger services at Durbin Greenbrier Valley Railroad, expresses.
The incident has prompted the closure of West Virginia Route 205, officials say. The truck struck the hitch between the third-to-last and second-to-last cars, prompting one car to overturn and second one to tilt to a 45-degree angle.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved and the emergency responders working the tragic accident in Randolph County this afternoon.
“My administration is working with all agencies involved to ensure the first responders and emergency managers are receiving the assistance they need,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement on Friday.
Most of the passengers suffered minor injuries, but at least three people were hospitalized with serious wounds. Tracy Fath of Davis Memorial Hospital stated yesterday that 12 to 15 people were being treated at the facility.
“They are getting taken to the hospital just so everybody can get checked out,” Burky adds.
Jim Wise, director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management, has complained about not being able to contact the National Transportation Safety Board because of the government shutdown.
“You can’t even leave a message. I don’t know what to do in that case,” he says
“All of our highway investigators are furloughed,” Sharon Bryson, deputy director of communications for the NTSB, explains for NBC News.