At least two people were killed and more than 100 others wounded when an Amtrak train, travelling from New York to Miami, was diverted onto a side track and slammed into a parked, unmanned freight train in South Carolina, US.
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation Amtrak blamed a freight rail operator for causing the fatal crash on Sunday.
The train carrying nine crew members and 136 passengers, hit the CSX Corp freight train that was stopped on a side track, or siding, at about 2:35 am (0735 GMT).
Amtrak President and Chief Executive Richard Anderson said CSX was responsible for the tracks and signals, including one that had a lock attached to it and diverted the Amtrak train onto the side track.
“CSX had lined and padlocked the switch off the mainline to the siding, causing the collision,” he said in a statement.
CSX did not address the comments by the Amtrak CEO but said it was working with federal investigators.
Both Amtrak and CSX offered their condolences to the families of the two people who died, reports Reuters.
Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the US National Transportation Board, told a news conference the section of track was operated by CSX and there was a padlock on the switch that steered train traffic onto the siding.
Amtrak engineer Michael Kempf, 54, of Savannah, Georgia, and conductor Michael Cella, 36, of Orange Park, Florida, were killed, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher told reporters. Autopsies were being conducted, she said.
Two of the 116 people injured were in critical condition after the wreck, which occurred about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of the state capital, Columbia.
“It’s a horrible thing to see, to understand what force was involved,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster told reporters.
“The first engine of the freight train was torn up, and the single engine of the passenger train is barely recognisable.”