California train crash, 20 injured


CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 30: Rescue workers transport an injured Amtrak passenger after the passenger train collided with a freight train November 30, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. More than 50 people were injured when the train reroute from Gran Rapids, Michigan to Chicago smashed into the back of a freight train on the city's south side. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Scott Olson

More than 20 passengers were injured when a big rig truck hit the side of an Amtrak train, causing it to derail. 

ABC News reported the Monday afternoon crash occurred in California's Central Valley.

The impact pushed two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks. The train traveled a further 600 feet, authorities said. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, between 20 and 50 people suffered minor injuries, including broken bones, bumps and bruising. Some were treated at the scene and others were transported to local hospitals.

Passenger Edmund Sanders described the scene as chaotic. 

"Right after it happened I see all these people with a terrified look on their faces, all trying to get to the front of the train," Sanders told the Fresno Bee.

"I tried as best I could to try and calm people down and help them get off that train. I really think that God has his hands on that train today," he said.

The Mercury News said the truck driver suffered minor injuries.

California Highway Patrol spokesman, Jerry Pierce, told the newspaper that investigators will try to determine if the crash was caused by driver error, a malfunctioning crossing arm, or another factor.

"This is a big, huge chaotic scene with lots of agencies involved," Pierce said.

Repair crews were working this morning to clear the wreckage. The train line had not been reopened and buses were being used to transport passengers.