(PANHANDLE, Texas) — Three railroad employees are presumed dead after they went missing when two freight trains collided in a fiery crash near Panhandle, Texas, on Tuesday, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety official.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway said four of its employees were involved when two intermodal freight trains collided Tuesday morning. One employee was hospitalized while rescue efforts were underway for the other three employees, BNSF Railway said Tuesday.
Crews moved from a rescue effort to recovery operation Tuesday night, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Dan Buesing told ABC News Wednesday. The three missing employees are presumed dead, he said.
The hospitalized employee is in stable condition Wednesday, Patrick Buckley of the Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo told ABC News.
“Our deepest concerns are for our employees and their families right now,” BNSF Railway said in a statement Tuesday.
One of the trains had stopped in Amarillo, Texas, to refuel before the crash, and that fuel added to the fire, Buesing said.
While the area of the incident has stopped burning, it is still smoldering with a significant amount of smoke and a few flare-ups, Buesing said.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, he added.
BNSF Railway said Tuesday, “Our investigation is in the very early stages but based on the limited information we have reviewed, it appears that this is the type of incident that positive train control technology (PTC) is intended to prevent. This is why we have been aggressively deploying PTC across our network. While sections of the track operated by the eastbound train involved in this accident have PTC installed and are being tested, the section of track where the incident occurred will be installed later this year.”
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