Union Pacific Working To Clear Wreckage From Iron County Train Derailment
LUND, Utah — A train with approximately 95 cars derailed in Iron County Thursday night due to floodwaters in the area, injuring three crew members, according to officials with the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities said the crew reported floodwaters were covering the tracks before the derailment, which occurred shortly after 10 p.m.
“As (the storm) came through, it brought down a lot of water,” said Lt. Del Schlosser with the Iron County Sheriff’s Office. “It was funneled into a canyon area, which was then funneled into the tracks, estimating that wall of water was probably a quarter mile wide when it started to hit the tracks.”
Deputies said the train was headed northbound at about 60 miles per hour when the crew noticed the water. Schlosser said the crew tried to slow down, but before they could do anything, the train derailed.
“Due to the weather and floodwaters in the area deputies and other emergency personnel had a difficult time getting to the injured subjects,” ICSO officials said.
The three crew members on the train struggled to exit the tipped locomotive due to the rising floodwaters. Officials said they were forced to wait approximately three hours in order to be rescued.
Strong, slow moving storms over Iron and Beaver counties yesterday produced impressive rainfall amounts over a 4-hour period leading to flash flooding northeast of Lund.
— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) July 16, 2021
Lund is approximately 29 miles northwest of Cedar City. Between 3″ and 6″ of rain was reported in the area, which was covered by a flash flood warning for several hours Thursday night.
Before Thursday, the Cedar City area had received less than 2″ of precipitation (1.98″) in 2021.
All three occupants were taken to area hospitals; one was in stable condition and the other two were in good condition. Authorities said the one who had it the worst suffered a head wound.
Authorities have asked the public to avoid the area until the approximately 95 cars can be cleared. Officials said it was unknown what cargo or freight was being carried on the train before it derailed.
Initially, sheriff’s deputies said there was some belief that there potentially was something explosive onboard the train, but Union Pacific came back later and said that was absolutely not the case.
The National Transportation Safety Board and Union Pacific are investigating the incident.
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