March 07, 2017
At least four people were killed and dozens injured after a train hit a charter bus Tuesday in Biloxi, Mississippi, officials said.
Biloxi Police Chief John Miller described the crash as a “terrible, chaotic scene” at a press conference, adding that 35 people have been hospitalized.
Around 50 passengers were on the bus when the crash happened, according to Miller. The CSX freight train was traveling east when it collided the charter bus that was heading north and pushed it nearly 300 feet down the tracks, he said.
The bus originated in Austin, Texas and had not yet reached its destination in Biloxi, Miller said.
“I just want everyone to know that we’re doing everything we can do to help everyone on that bus,” the chief said.
Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich called it a “tragic day” for the city, and asked for thoughts and prayers for those affected.
Emergency crews were spotted still removing people from the bus through the emergency windows 30 minutes after the initial crash, WLOX-TV reported.
Witnesses told WLOX-TV that passengers were senior citizens. Charter buses often carry patrons to one of Biloxi’s eight casinos, but Biloxi city spokesman Vincent Creel told the Associated Press he wasn’t sure where the bus was headed.
The CSX train, pulled by three locomotives, was headed eastbound when it hit the bus at a crossing in downtown Biloxi just before 2:15p.m., Creel told the AP.
The single track is the CSX mainline along the Gulf Coast, passing through densely populated areas of southern Mississippi.
CSX officials told WLOX-TV all train traffic through the area has been stopped as a result of the crash.
“CSX personnel are working with first responders at a collision of a freight train and passenger bus in Biloxi, Miss,” CSX spokesman Gary Sease said in a statement to WLOX-TV. “The collision this afternoon occurred at the Main Street crossing. The eastbound mixed freight train, traveling from New Orleans to Mobile, Ala., had three locomotives and 52 cars – 27 loaded cars and 25 empty cars. The crossing has flashing lights and crossing gates. Authorities in Biloxi report three fatalities and many injuries, and our thoughts are with all involved. The train crew was not injured.”
The bus was marked as belonging to Echo Transportation, which Texas corporate records show is a unit of a company called TBL Group, based in Grand Prairie, near Dallas. A phone message and an email left for Echo by the AP were not immediately returned.