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Fatal DC Metro Crash Worst in System’s History

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A horrendous crash of two Washington, DC Metro subway trains yesterday has left 9 people dead.  The Los Angeles Times reported that the crash occurred  at rush hour around 5:00 p.m. on the Metro’s Red Line, one of its busiest routes.

Officials are calling yesterday’s Metro crash the worst in the system’s 33 year history.  Over the years, there have been at least four other fatal Metro accidents that have  killed a total of seven people.

The collision occurred when one train stopped short of the Fort Totten station – near the Maryland border – and was rammed from behind from the second train, United Press International (UPI) said.  The second train  came to rest on top of the first – something that indicates it was traveling at a high rate of speed.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is on the scene, and has  assigned a railroad investigator and two specialists from its office of transportation disaster assistance to the incident, the Times said.  The investigation will likely focus on the Metro’s computerized signal system, which is supposed to keep trains from getting too close to one another, and operator error.  The NTSB investigation of the Metro crash could take years to complete, but it may issue a preliminary report sooner than that.

More than 200 emergency workers responded to the scene, where they had to work to release trapped commuters.   Six people – including the operator of the second train – were declared dead shortly after the crash.  The additional three bodies were discovered late last night, the Los Angeles Times said. In addition, 76 people were treated at the scene.  Some were sent to area hospitals, six with critical injuries.

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