Last updated on May 27, 2022
Three people were injured in a train accident outside in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Thursday.
A train collided with a construction vehicle late Thursday afternoon in Harmar Township, Pennsylvania, a suburb about 15 miles outside of Pittsburgh. The operator of the construction vehicle, and the two train operators were taken to a local hospital. The severity of the victims’ injuries are not yet known. Seventeen train cars have been derailed, and a railroad bridge over the Little Deer Creek was destroyed, sending several tanker cars plummeting into the water below.
Drone footage from the scene, taken by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, showed at least ten of the derailed rail cars in the water, including several tanker cars and open freight wagons. The footage also showed that the bridge had been severely damaged. Most of the bridge appeared to have collapsed. The rails themselves appeared to have been torn off the ground, and railroad ties were strewn about on the ground. A locomotive can also be seen turned over on its side, and a severely damaged dump truck, likely the one involved in the accident, can be seen as well.
Crews were spotted working on the scene at the time. You can watch the footage below:
— KDKA (@KDKA) May 26, 2022
Live chopper footage taken from the scene by local news station WTAE, as well as eyewitness reports, indicated that some sort of liquid was leaking into the water from one of the train cars. Local officials later reported, however, that a water line for Harmar Township was broken in the derailment, spilling water into the stream. The broken water line can also be seen in the WTAE footage, sticking out of the water and gushing into the stream. The water line has since been shut off.
Both the train and the dump truck were headed in the direction of the Allegheny Valley Joint Sewage Authority treatment plant in Harmar Township, near where the Little Creek merges with the Allegheny River. The dump truck was on its way to a construction site at the sewer plant, KDKA reported, citing local emergency management officials on the scene. The area is not heavily trafficked, which meant there were no railroad crossing lights or boom gates.
Hazmat crews were on scene, local outlets noted. It is not known what exactly the tanker cars were carrying. KDKA reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was present on scene, and a strong odor, possibly oil, could be smelled in the air. First responders told WTAE that possibly two locomotives could also have been overturned in the accident.
WPXI Channel 11 Pittsburgh reported that the victims suffered only minor injuries.
Railroad company Norfolk Southern issued a statement to local outlets confirming that it was one of their trains that was involved in the accident. “Late this afternoon, one of our eastbound trains struck a dump truck carrying stone, which caused a derailment,” Norfolk Southern spokesperson Thomas Crosson said in a statement, via WTAE. “Thank you to the first responders who assisted our crew members. At this time, our personnel are on-site and working with local authorities to determine next steps.”