The crashed passenger train is two-carriage type which served the Sudbury-Marks Tey line and had been carrying 20 passengers at the time of the accident. Records point that the collision occurred around 5:30 pm at the crossing of Little Cornard located near Bures..
Local authorities arrested the tanker’s driver, a 38 year old male, on suspicions of reckless driving.
The villagers of Bures, who wear near the scene, reported the sound not unlike that of a bomb exploding when the vehicles struck each other and afterwards seeing shocked and bloodied passengers walking around the wreckage.
The container the truck was hauling was cleaved open during the impact and had resulted in the sewage spilling across the collision site.
Most of the passengers were hurt but the most serious injury belonged to one passenger who got trapped inside the train. The injuries he sustained threatened his life and is still under intensive care.
Injured passengers had some slight to moderate injuries with six going to the hospital for overnight observations. The 14 other passengers received some treatment on the scene as well.
The train engineer on the other hand encountered serious injuries with a possible spinal fracture. He was rushed to the Colchester General Hospital for emergency treatment.
Most of the passengers were either taken to Colchester General Hospital or West Suffolk Hospital based in St. Edmunds. The victims with life-threatening injuries were flown through helicopter and treated at Addenbrookes Hospital which is located in Cambridge.
One witness, a Lee Bloomfield, a 17 year old from Colchester, was actually a passenger of the fated train and told authorities his account of the accident. He said that he rode the train at the Sudbury station and five minutes after departing, encountered the collision. The impact rocked everyone’s bodies forward. Lee’s chest propelled towards the table. Upon recovering, he saw people bleeding through their noses or mouths. He was sent to Colchester and the doctors there cleared him after viewing his X-rays.
Jack Barnett, a resident living near the crossroads where the accident occurred told reporters of his account. His family was having tea during the time of the collision and then they suddenly heard a very loud expolosion. According to Mr. Barnett, the bang was so loud that he thought a bomb blew off or an airplane crashed near the environs. When they went out they saw the train and truck wreck. He went out of his way to help along with the other youngsters who were already before him to help the passengers get to safety. The carriages were standing but unfortunately the impact had injured the passengers. The police cuffed the driver and took him out of the scene. He also mentioned that the lorry was cut and the sewage spilled out onto the area surrounding the tracks.
This latest accident was suspected to have come about after the tanker’s driver failed to perform the safety measures of communicating with the signaller to check if it is safe to drive across. Investigations are currently being made on whether this particular protocol had been followed.
Network Rail, operator of England’s train system, had previously embarked on a campaign promoting railroad and crossing safety and the hazards which people can encounter if certain procedures are not followed at train crossings.
2009 saw such accidents which claimed the lives of 13 people and 14 almost similar collisions occurred between trains and vehicles.
Furthermore, what alarmed Network Rail is that there are records of 145 misses where trains almost collided with vehicles. If this was accounted for statistically, there are about three near misses a week and 3,244 times when drivers were negligent of following safety precautions.
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