RENO, Nev. - Authorities Saturday confirmed "multiple passenger deaths" after a semi-trailer truck collided with a Chicago-to-California Amtrak train in the Nevada desert.
The driver of the truck and a member of the train's crew also were killed. Amtrak released a statement confirming "fatalities to passengers" but would not provide additional details. Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm told the Reno Gazette-Journal that "there were multiple passenger deaths; we just don't know how many." "We know it's more than one," he said.
The crash occurred at 11:24 a.m. Pacific time on Friday at a rail crossing about 75 miles east of Reno. The badly burned cars were unstable, and that hindered efforts to recover bodies still on the train. At least 20 people were taken to local hospitals.
Skid marks at the rail crossing indicate the driver attempted to brake, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Lopez told the Gazette-Journal. Neither police nor Amtrak identified any of the victims or released information on ages, gender or hometowns.
Meanwhile, authorities said they planned to look into the driving and medical records of the truck driver. Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said they also will look at autopsy results to determine whether the driver had consumed any drugs around the time of the collision Friday.
About 20 people aboard the train were taken to hospitals. The the nine most seriously injured were at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. Five others have been discharged from the hospital. AP, with staff reporter s Mike Lansu, Rosemary Sobol and Mitch Dudek contributing
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