UPDATE: NTSB investigating Arkansas & Missouri accident

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WASHINGTON – A team of National Transportation Safety Board investigators is looking into why two Arkansas & Missouri locomotives collided Thursday, critically injuring at least five people.

The collision happened Thursday near Brentwood, Ark., and involved an Arkansas & Missouri Railroad fall foliage passenger special and a locomotive sent to rescue the excursion, which had become stranded on the tracks.

Media reports say five people were critically hurt in the collision of the passenger train and another Arkansas & Missouri engine. A USA Today report says a total of 15 people were hospitalized. That report also says the hospitalized individuals have injuries ranging from head wounds to lacerations. All are reported to be in stable condition.

Railroad spokesman Ron Sparks was quoted by the Associated Press as saying one of the injured was a conductor who was airlifted to a hospital with possible back injuries.

In a Thursday night briefing in Bentonville, Ark., NTSB member Mark Rosekind said the excursion train of one locomotive and four cars stalled for unknown reasons. A rescue train was dispatched to assist the stalled train, but collided head-on with the lead engine of the passenger train.

Rosekind said investigators expect to be on the scene for five to seven days to “document perishable evidence.” He reported both locomotives were equipped with forward-facing video recorders and event recorders.
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