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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Two killed in California train crash
Emergency workers tend to victims on the ground by the derailed trains
It is not known how the trains ended on the same track
A freight train has struck a commuter train in southern California during the morning rush hour.

Rescue officials said two people were killed and around 265 injured.

Emergency workers help an injured woman talk on her phone
More than 30 ambulances converged on the scene
The accident happened about 56 kilometres (35 miles) from Los Angeles, at Placentia in Orange County.

At least 25 people are still considered to have life-threatening injuries while a further 40 remain seriously hurt but not in any immediate danger, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority told French news agency AFP.

The collision buckled and derailed two of the double-decker train carriages.

'Blood everywhere'

"This is obviously a very serious incident and there is an investigation," Metrolink spokeswoman Sharon Gavin said.

People went flying out of their seats...there was blood and pillows and people and train schedules everywhere and then I just kind of stumbled off the train

Passenger Patrick Madden
She said it was not immediately known how the two trains ended up on the same track.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators have reportedly arrived at the scene to begin an investigation into the cause of the crash.

Witnesses said the Metrolink train had stopped on the track when the freight train hit it.

Police initially said three people had been killed, but officials said one fatality had been counted twice according to AFP.

Passenger Patrick Madden, 37, said: "People went flying out of their seats. People were moaning and groaning in pain. My friend hit a table and broke his ribs. There was blood and pillows and people and train schedules everywhere and then I just kind of stumbled off the train."

Another commuter, Kim Bailey, told The Associated Press news agency of the confusion at the scene.

"I was thrown forward onto my knees with my face into the seat, and I was just confused."

"I just saw darkness and I didn't know what happened."

Second incident

More than 30 ambulances converged on the scene to help the victims.

Firefighters, some with ladders, helped people out of the buckled carriages.

Others were forced to scramble out of windows.

The passenger train was travelling from the greater Los Angeles area of Riverside to the town of San Juan Capistrano when the collision happened.

This is the second serious train accident in the US in less than a week.

Last Friday, an Amtrak train loaded with tourists hurtled off the tracks in northern Florida, killing at least four people on board.

The BBC's David Shukman
"This is a route that normally serves over 3000 people"
Rail company Metrolink's Sharon Gavin
"I don't have a definite count of the number of passengers"
Garry Layman, Orange County Fire Service
"At this time we have 265 injuries"
See also:

19 Apr 02 | Americas
Four killed in Florida train crash
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