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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Train Collision Injures Over 200

Aired April 23, 2002 - 13:12   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Close to Anaheim, California -- it's actually taking place in Placentia, which is in southern California, not far from Anaheim -- a commuter train colliding head-on with a freight train at rush hour this morning, injuring at least 265 people now that we're told, including 25 people who were taken to the hospital. And now, CNN has confirmed one person has been killed in this train collision.

On the phone with us now, Francisco Oaxaca. He is a spokesperson for Metrolink. Francisco, good morning.

FRANCISCO OAXACA, SPOKESPERSON, METROLINK: Good morning, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Go ahead and give us the latest details of how indeed this happened. Obviously, you've got investigators out on the scene. But what can you tell us and bring us up to date on new information?

OAXACA: Well, what we know is, basically, the details you outlined earlier, that there was an incident involving one of our commuter trains, which was traveling from the Riverside County area in southern California down into Orange County. It was struck head-on by a freight train in the same area. We don't have exact details yet as to whether both trains were moving or only one train was moving at the time, but the collision occurred nonetheless.

We do have over 200 injuries. At least 25 of the injured have been transported to local hospitals. Another 45 are awaiting transport as of the last report that I had. We do also do have one confirmed fatality onboard the Metrolink train. And our emergency crews as well as local emergency response units are still on the scene attending to the injured.

PHILLIPS: Has this ever happened in the past? I'm familiar with Metrolink by living in southern California, but I don't remember something of this magnitude thus far?

OAXACA: This is our worst incident in our nearly 10-year history of operating the trains. We had an incident about two or three years ago where one of our trains sideswiped a freight train. It was not a head-on collision, so there was only a handful of injuries and no fatalities in that particular situation. But this is definitely the most serious incident that we've had on our system.

PHILLIPS: How many people, Francisco, travel on this train daily and do you know how many people were onboard today?

OAXACA: We don't have an exact count yet. The average number of passengers on this train is anywhere from about 250 up to 400. And we -- the early indications are that it was in the maybe the 300 to 400 range.

PHILLIPS: Francisco Oaxaca from Metrolink, we thank you for updating us on this situation. And we will continue to monitor this train collision and bring you as much information as possible as soon as we get it.

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