CHURCHILL COUNTY, Nevada – According to witnesses a semi-truck hauling two empty gravel trailers in rural Nevada didn’t try to stop at an Amtrak train crossing when it crashed through the gate and slammed into an Amtrak train.
Authorities say six people died in the crash and 28 are still unaccounted for. Officials are in the process of trying to confirm the victim’s identities. Among the 200 passengers that were traveling from Chicago to Emeryville, California, at least 100 were injured.
A passenger who was sleeping at the time of impact, Abel Ortiz, 42, said he was in the car that was opened up by the crash.
“As I looked up, I saw the train being ripped up. It created an opening in our car,” Ortiz told the Lahontan Valley News & Fallon Eagle Standard newspaper in Fallon. “I saw the flames come over the windows of the side, like a quick flash of flames. Then smoked filled up everything. There was some screaming.”
Ortiz’ 13-year-old son said he had to tell himself it wasn’t a dream. “I thought I was sleeping but I said this isn’t a dream,” he said. “I was scared. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the scariest), this was an 11.”
Authorities are still investigating the crash trying to determine why the truck driver crashed into the train.
“We are still going through the wreckage of the train which is pretty extensive,” Lopez told msnbc.com. “We are still in the midst of the process of trying to account for everyone.”
According to Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Dan Lopez, the truck driver and the Amtrak conductor are among the six confirmed dead.
Video – Watch chaotic scene after Amtrak train crash.