3 Crew Members Missing After Texas Freight Train Crash, Authorities Say

The NTSB has sent a team to Panhandle, Texas, to investigate.

June 28, 2016, 4:32 PM

— -- Texas authorities said today that three train workers remained missing as emergency crews continued to fight a fire caused by an explosive train crash in Texas this morning.

Joe Faust, a spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, said that two of its mixed-freight trains were involved in the accident at 8:40 a.m. in Panhandle, Texas.

"BNSF has confirmed that the lead locomotives on two intermodal trains collided near Panhandle, TX, this morning, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at approximately 8:40 a.m. CT. Four BNSF employees were involved in the incident. Local first responders and BNSF personnel were deployed to the scene. By 9:02 a.m., one employee was transported to a local hospital and is being treated. Rescue efforts are underway at the scene with respect to the three other railroad employees involved in the incident," Faust said in a statement.

PHOTO: Ttwo freight trains burn after they collided and derailed near Panhandle, Texas, June 28, 2016.
Ttwo freight trains burn after they collided and derailed near Panhandle, Texas, June 28, 2016.
Billy B. Brown via AP

Images from the scene showed derailed box cars on fire and piled atop each other. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of six to investigate.

Faust said that each train had two crew members -- an engineer and conductor -- on board.

The Department of Public Safety Amarillo said it was not known whether the three missing crew members were still alive. Authorities said due to fire conditions at the crash site, it would take time before emergency crews could reach the compartments where the members were working.

Sgt. Dan Buesing of the Department of Public Safety said that the freight cars were not carrying hazardous materials but that authorities could not verify the contents of the cars.

ABC affiliate KVII said the city of Panhandle had asked residents to reduce their water usage so that firefighters could effectively fight the blaze.

Evacuations that had been put in place for the east side of Panhandle because of shifting winds were lifted. One area highway remained shut down near the area of the fire.

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