U.S. News


Cause Of Arkansas Train Crash Still Unknown

Authorities have yet to announce why two trains collided head-on Sunday after ending up on the same track going opposite directions.
Posted at 10:19 PM, Aug 17, 2014

A head-on collision between two Union Pacific trains in Arkansas on Sunday left two people dead and two injured.

The crash happened at around 3 a.m. Sunday morning near Hoxie, Arkansas, and set off a fire at the crash site. KAIT reports hundreds of people were evacuated as a precaution after it was discovered both of the trains were carrying toxic chemicals. 

The fire was fueled by oil from one of the train's engines and a car that was transporting a shipment of an alcoholic beverage.

The National Transportation Safety Board is on the scene and will investigate the crash, but so far there's been no word on why two trains were heading in opposite directions on the same track.

Local authorities are keeping a tight hold on the crash site. This reporter for KTHV was only able to get close enough to see the last car in the train. Another reporter said:

"We are told by the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office that if you do go through here and you aren't official traffic you will be arrested. That's including us and simply because this is a very active scene still."

State officials said no health hazards were detected from the fire and none of the toxic chemicals are believed to have leaked, so it's not immediately clear why the media was kept so far away from the crash site.

This is the second head-on collision between Union Pacific trains since 2012, when three people were killed in Oklahoma when one of train failed to take a side track.

The names of the people killed in the crash have not been released, but it has been confirmed they were all crew members aboard the two trains.