LA Train Crash Toll at 18; Passengers Still Trapped

135 injured; federal investigation planned
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 13, 2008 9:32 AM CDT
A gurney is lowered onto the wreckage as rescue and recovery work continues under floodlights after dark after a MetroLink commuter train collided with a freight train in L.A. Friday.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
camera-icon View 7 more images

(Newser) – The death toll in the Los Angeles train crash yesterday rose to 18 this morning, with 135 injured and more passengers still trapped inside train cars. Crews worked through the night to tear apart the metal to reach passenger spaces. "There's human beings in there and it's going to be painstaking to get them out," the fire captain told the AP. "They'll have to surgically remove them." More than 220 people were on the Metrolink train, which collided with a freight train traveling on the same track.

Four were on the freight train. “This is the worst accident I've ever seen,” said LA’s mayor. "Clearly the injuries are going to mount and so are the fatalities." A federal investigation will examine how the collision occurred; at this point, “we are nowhere near having any information on that,” said a federal railroad rep. A train company spokeswoman noted that freight trains and commuter trains often share tracks.