One person is dead and 66 people are injured after a logging truck smashed into a tourist train along Cheat Mountain at about 1:30 p.m., officials said.
Randolph County Emergency Services Director Jim Wise told The Inter-Mountain three people suffered critical injuries. Wise said 21 people were transported by ambulance to Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins, while 45 "walking wounded" were taken to the hospital by a Randolph County school bus.
"As far as I know, everyone at the scene was transported," Wise said.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor
Emergency officials help unload passengers at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins after a
Wise said a log truck from H&H Fisher's Logging out of Bartow hit the train at the train crossing along Route 250 at the Cheat Mountain Bridge.
Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad Owner John Smith confirmed to The Inter-Mountain that the logging truck failed to stop at the crossing and smashed into the side of the train.
Wise said two of the train's passenger cars overturned in the accident.
"The road is going to be closed for a while," Wise said at 5 p.m. "They have to get the two cars upright fast. They'll probably be working at the scene most of the night."
Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Terry George said the school system provided a school bus to help transport the injured.
"We sent one school bus up at the request of the railroad to bring passengers back to Elkins," George said.
Shane Yeager, an Elkins Depot employee, said passengers who have already been treated are slowly returning to the depot to collect their vehicles.
Lisa Riggs, the general manager of the Hampton Inn in Elkins, said the hotel's shuttle service is available to any of the victims of the accident and their families. The shuttle will pick them up wherever they are and transport them to the hotel, Riggs said. For more information call 304-630-7500.
An alternative route to avoid the accident is to take Route 219 to Route 66 and then take Route 28.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued the following statement about the incident:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved and the emergency responders working the tragic accident in Randolph County this afternoon, Tomblin said. "My administration is working with all agencies involved to ensure the first responders and emergency managers on the ground are receiving the assistance they need."
Check back for more details and updates as the situation develops.