The front car of a commuter train plunged into a swollen creek after a fallen tree reportedly derailed the train Monday night in central California, injuring nine people, authorities say. Crews had to fight the creek's fast-moving currents to pull riders from the partially submerged rail car, Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly says. "It was dark, wet, it was raining. It was very chaotic," Kelly tells the AP. "This is an absolute miracle that no one was killed, no passengers or first responders." Four people were seriously hurt while at least five others had minor injuries, authorities say.
The Altamont Corridor Express commuter train was traveling from San Jose to Stockton when the first two cars went off the tracks near Niles Canyon Road in Sunol, a rural area of Alameda County about 45 miles east of San Francisco. An Altamont Corridor Express train official says the first car was carrying six passengers and one crew member when it fell into Alameda Creek. He says the second car also derailed but remained upright. Passengers described a harrowing scene of panic and confusion. "We were all just panicking," one passenger tells KNTV. "There were two people hurt, pretty badly. One was just under the mudslide so we were trying to dig her out while the train was hanging, so it was a pretty crazy experience." (Read more derailment stories.)