March 25

Two locomotives down

March 25 was an ugly day.  Mid-day the call went out that a derailment has possibly injured two people.  In fact, it had injured one and killed another. The dead man was under the two locomotives that lay on top of each other. He had died when he jumped from the locomotive he was in as it started going over.  It landed on top of him.

I am an event shooter and have been a news shooter/reporter.  It’s this kind of thing that I always hated to have to report on — a neighbor killed.  The dead man, a fellow biker, lived about 15 miles north of me.  I could feel the tension of workers such as this fellow who was scoping out the situation, trying to reach the dead man.  You can see the cable stretched to the locomotive on the bottom trying to keep the two engines from sliding further down the hill in to the creek.

Apparently, the earth under the tracks had gotten soft in the spring thaw, but it lay on top of a sheet of ice well below the ground surface. When the train hit the softened soil on top of the buried ice, it squished out and down the hill, taking the tracks and the locomotives with it.

Crews worked all day an in to the night, bringing in specialized companies from various parts of the Midwest to not only stabilize the site, but recover the body and the wrecked locomotives.  I spent 11 hours on the scene, numb from not only the cold but from the sadness of the event.  Finally just before midnight, I clicked my last shots and headed back home, a mere 10 miles from the crash site.

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