Engineer Jumps to Safety from Waneta Train wreck
Early Monday afternoon at approximately 1:30pm a southbound train, owned by Omnitrax of Kettle Falls, Washington, collided with a number of parked railway cars on the rail line running alongside the highway. As a result, one of the engines and a number of rail cars fell across the highway, completely blocking it. This closed down the highway necessitating a detour through Rossland to the Patterson crossing.
While the cause of the accident is still being investigated by Transportation Safety board investigators who are attending the site today (Dec 30th) will be examining the scene. Preliminary indications are that brake failure is the likely cause of the collision.
Witnesses to the accident were unhurt with just one vehicle on the road at the time of the accident that was struck by a piece of flying debris but was able to carry on. The driver, uninjured then attended the RCMP detachment. The only person aboard the train, the engineer, managed to jump to safety prior to the collision and was not injured.
There was a potential environmental concern involved as one of the locomotives spilled diesel which was contained by the Trail Regional Fire Department who were on scene. There was also a small amount of fertilized spilled that was reported not to present an environmental hazard.
Equipment has been brought in by the rail company to help clear the scene, and they hope to have the road open by Wednesday evening.