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Worst US train wreck in 25 years


At 4:23 p.m. Friday afternoon, a commuter train collided into a freight train. The crash occurred in Chatsworth, a district of the city of Los Angeles.

The death count stands at 17 and over 135 were injured, though both numbers are expected to rise. The commuter vehicle, a Metrolink train, was carrying 225 passengers.

The LA Times issued a detailed report,
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-traincrash13-2008sep13,0,2874450.story, which delved into the recovery efforts. Quoted was LA City Fire Capt. John Virant. “‘They are in there removing dead bodies that are lying on top of survivors,’ Virant said. In the front train carriage, he said, ‘it was as if somebody had just taken all the seats and thrown them in there.’?

The cause of the accident was not released at the time of the LA Times article, though it was under investigation. The Associated Press later reported that the engineer of the commuter train was responsible for the crash after running a red light (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-09-14-train-crash_N.htm). However, a representative from the National Transportation Safety Board said that the investigation has not been completed.

It is important to note that the LA Times was one of the only newspapers to run an original story on the crash. Most larger newspapers used the AP releases in their coverage. The readers of the LA Times would be more inclined to seek new information from their paper about the crash due to its local importance.

A crash that occurred in 2005 was repeatedly mentioned in multiple sources for comparative purposes. The earlier crash also involved a Metrolink train.

The fact that two severe Metrolink crashes have taken place in the span of three years has led some to question the accountability of the company. "I think it's an outrage that Metrolink has let this happen again," said Jeremy Schneider, a witness to the crash. "How do you hit a freight train head on in broad daylight? How could this happen??

The original AP News Release announcing the crash, found here at http://abcnews.go.com/US/WireStory?id=5793645&page=2, contained only immediate information that the collision had occurred, and where and when it happened. Follow-up reports from AP expanded on the story, citing the mounting death toll and injury count.