Los Angeles, CA – At least 24 people were killed in the head-on crash of a commuter train and a freight train near Los Angeles that officials on Saturday attributed to the failure of the passenger train engineer to stop at a red light.
The crash, which occurred in the Los Angeles suburb of Chatsworth, was the worst U.S. rail tragedy since 1999.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the death toll might go higher if people succumb to their injuries at any of the dozen or so hospitals where roughly 47 people remain in critical condition.
About 40 others are hospitalized in serious condition a day after the deadliest commuter train crash in Los Angeles history.
“We have confirmed 25 dead,” said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Ron Myers. The collision injured a total of about 135 people.
“At this moment we must acknowledge that it was a Metrolink engineer that made the error that caused yesterday’s accident,” Denise Tyrrell, a spokeswoman for the train line, said at a news conference.
She said the engineer, who was not identified, worked for a subcontractor used by Metrolink. The engineer was believed to have died in the crash.
There were 222 people on the Metrolink train, and three Union Pacific employees aboard the freight train, according to media reports.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Friday’s collision “a human tragedy that is beyond words.”