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'Screams and Crying' Followed Amtrak Train Crash

'Screams and Crying' Followed Amtrak Train Crash

An aerial view of the site of an early morning train crash between an Amtrak train, bottom right, and a CSX freight train, top left, in Cayce, SC. (AP Photo/Jeff Blake)

Sunday, 04 February 2018 06:26 PM

Passenger Eric Larkin told The Associated Press he was jolted awake by the pre-dawn crash as the Amtrak train slammed into a freight train in South Carolina.

Larkin said he felt the train start to leave the tracks as it hit a curve in the railway early Sunday.

"It was shaking, then it started jumping," Larkin said, adding that his seat came loose, slamming him into the row of seats in front of him. He was seated toward the middle of the train.

Larkin said he heard screams and crying all around him as he tried to get out. Other passengers were bleeding. His right knee throbbed from where it banged the row of seats in front of him.

Walking with a limp, Larkin said he was dazed and didn't know where he was when the train finally came to a complete stop.

"It's a blessing to be alive," said Larkin, a resident of Pamlico, North Carolina, speaking outside a middle school where passengers were taken. "I thought that I was dead."

Once he got off the train, Larkin said arriving police officers told him to stop taking photos of the crumpled train and not to share any of the images he had already captured.

"I thought it was a little strange," Larkin said of the request.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt says the key to the investigation into the fatal crash will be why a switch was turned to force the passenger train onto a side track and into a parked freight train.

Sumwalt said at a news conference Sunday afternoon that the switch was padlocked to send trains on the main line to the side track, which conductors are supposed to do when they change lines.

He says the freight train crew took the CSX train from one side track across the main line and back to another side track after unloading automobiles.

Sumwalt says investigators don't know if the signals further up the line indicated the track had been switched off the main route.

The conductor and engineer on the Amtrak train died and 116 other people were taken to hospitals after the passenger train crashed head.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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Passenger Eric Larkin told The Associated Press he was jolted awake by the pre-dawn crash as the Amtrak train slammed into a freight train in South Carolina.
train crash, south carolina
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2018-26-04
Sunday, 04 February 2018 06:26 PM
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