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D.C. Metrorail Suffers Worst Crash In Its History

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, Host:

Investigators here in Washington are trying to determine why safety precautions failed in a deadly train accident during the evening rush hour yesterday. Seven people were killed and dozens more injured when one subway train car slammed into the back of another. NPR's Katia Dunn reports.

KATIA DUNN: The wreck is the deadliest in the metro rails history. It happened around 5:00 when one train slammed into another that was stopped. The force tore open cars and threw train seats onto the track. At the chaotic scene on Monday night, local officials were concerned with rescuing passengers and finding the cause of the wreck. Jim Graham is a Washington councilman.

JIM GRAHAM: The first car on that train is demolished and squashed and that's what's leading to some of the lack of information we have, because somebody has got to sort through all of that. And so it's a horrendous, horrendous situation.

DUNN: Dozens of people were on the trains when they collided. NPR employee Jasmine Gars was one of them.

JASMINE GARS: It was like we rammed into a concrete wall. If you can imagine the train at full speed coming to an absolute sudden halt.

DUNN: Sabrina Webber stood with her neighbors and watched the rescue effort. She said she was in her house when it happened. She heard a tremendous boom and ran out the door.

SABRINA WEBBER: We saw one train on top of another train. Literally piled on top. The police and EMS had Jaws of Life coming out, peeling people out of the train.

DUNN: Valencio Coppen(ph) lives a few houses away from the site of the wreck.

VALENCIO COPPEN: And that's usually the train that I take. I just so happened to be working out at 4:00 and well, you know, kind of grateful for that. I definitely dodged a bullet.

DUNN: Katia Dunn, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Katia Dunn