Shepard Smith just reported on terrible news out of West Texas where a train has crashed into a parade trailer that was carrying wounded warriors. Multiple people have been killed.
The accident happened in Midland, Texas. The veterans were taking part in the Hunt for Heroes parade.
Reports indicate that at least several people are dead – four by most accounts. Sixteen people have also been taken to area hospitals.
7:46p ET UPDATE: Shep reports that we now know that the train hit a flatbed trailer carrying war heroes. Below is the first image from the scene of what hospital officials are calling a “mass casualty incident.”
7:50p ET UPDATE: The Midland, Texas police chief now confirms that 4 people are dead, and 17 others are in area hospitals according to a city spokesperson. The event organizer tells the Midland Reporter Telegram Newspaper that workers are still trying to account for everyone after a Union Pacific train hit the trailer.
City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout says the crash happened at a Union Pacific railroad crossing around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Stout says 10 of those injured are in critical condition at Midland Memorial Hospital, while the seven others are in stable condition.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson says the NTSB is investigating. A message left with a Union Pacific spokeswoman was not returned.
The parade was supposed to end at a "Hunt for Heroes" banquet. The wounded service members were then going to be treated to a deer-hunting trip this weekend.
The eastbound train was sounding its horn before it hit the float around 4:40 p.m. in Midland, Union Pacific spokesman Tom Lange said. A preliminary investigation indicates the crossing gate and lights were working at the time, Lange said, though he didn't know if the train crew saw the float approaching.
Two people died at the scene of the crash, while two others died at Midland Memorial Hospital, City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout said. Ten of those injured are in critical condition, while the other seven are in stable condition, he said.
"There is going to be a very thorough investigation," Lange said. "It's obviously a very tragic incident."
Photos of the float taken during the parade show about two dozen people seated in chairs set up on the back of a flatbed tractor-trailer decorated with American flags. A banner across the truck's front bumper reads, "Heroes on Board."
Police said the float was among two flat-bed trucks carrying veterans and their spouses. The first truck safely crossed the railroad tracks, but the second truck's trailer was hit by the train. Some of the people riding on the second trailer evacuated before the crash, police said.
The parade was to end at a "Hunt for Heroes" banquet honoring the veterans. The wounded service members were then going to be treated to a deer-hunting trip this weekend. The events have been canceled.
Lange said Union Pacific is offering help to the community and victims' families, as well as peer-to-peer counseling for the train crew, who did not sustain any injuries.
"It's pretty traumatic for them," he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.
Originally posted by darkhorserider
OK, this isn't meant to be comical, but my wife suggested it. Perhaps some of them wanted to die? I mean the idea of this being an accident is just inconceivable. Midland is FLAT! They would have seen this train coming for miles. Either he tried to cut in front of the train, or they had plenty of time to evacuate, OR, maybe they didn't want to evacuate?
The preliminary investigation shows that the Hunt For Heroes parade was traveling westbound on Wall Street when it tuned south on Garfield Street crossing the train tracks. The last two floats in the parade were carrying the heroes and their spouses. The first flatbed crossed the train tracks completely; the second did not make it across before being struck by the train. The Union Pacific Train was traveling eastbound when it struck the float. Some of those who were riding on the second trailer attempted to evacuate before the train collision. There were 26 people on the flatbed when it was struck by the train. They included 12 heroes, 12 spouses, and two escorts.
37 year old Army SGM Gary Stouffer and 47 year old Army SGM Lawrence Boivin were pronounced dead at the scene. 34 year old Army SGT Joshua Michael and 43 year old Army SGM William Lubbers were transported and later pronounced dead at Midland Memorial Hospital. As of 7:00am, five victims remain at the hospital (four in stable, one in critical), and one is currently in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock.