Frank Buckley: Train diverted to avoid city center
CNN's Frank Buckley
A freight train derails and scatters its load of lumber into homes in Commerce, California (June 20)
COMMERCE, California (CNN) -- Emergency crews and rescue dogs are searching for victims after a freight train derailed near Los Angeles on Friday. A Union Pacific spokeswoman says a string of 31 runaway freight cars rolled 27 miles along the tracks before some derailed and crashed into homes near the tracks. CNN correspondent Frank Buckley filed this report from the crash site.
BUCKLEY: It's a spectacular derailment here in the city of Commerce. ... The train entered a cul-de-sac, came off the track, you can see all the wood splintered about -- these were freight trains that were carrying wood.
It ended up right on top of a house. This was an occupied home. Fortunately, no one was killed here. But there were a number of injuries in this neighborhood, 13 people injured -- that's an updated figure -- none of them seriously. Six people were taken to hospitals, however.
Officials here are calling it a miracle that no one was killed. The search is still going on to make sure there are no additional victims [who] were buried.
A few moments ago, I talked to Kathryn Blackwell from Union Pacific Railroad, [who said] this train was intentionally sent into a [side track], with the likely outcome that the train would derail.
Union Pacific Railroad spokesman tell me ... they did this [because] the train was headed to the more populated area of Los Angeles, where there are possibly commuter trains and more population. This train was traveling, they estimated, more than 50 miles per hour. So they intentionally moved it over to a [side track], knowing that the train would probably derail.