- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 24, 2002

PLACENTIA, Calif. (AP) A freight train plowed head-on into a Southern California commuter train during the morning rush hour yesterday, killing two persons and injuring at least 260.
Witnesses said the Metrolink commuter train came to a halt just before the crash. A passenger identified as Jim Fleming told KCAL-TV that the engineer came running through the car.
"There was a silence, and he was yelling, 'Everybody get down, get down.' I thought maybe there was a bomb on board. Then all of a sudden we hit," Mr. Fleming said.
Authorities were investigating how the trains ended up on the same track. It was the nation's second deadly train wreck in less than a week.
The accident happened just after 8 a.m., 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The southbound Metrolink train was traveling from Riverside to San Juan Capistrano with more than 300 passengers when it collided with a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight en route from Los Angeles to Clovis, N.M., with 67 loaded containers.
Commuters were hurled from their seats by the thundering impact, and passengers, many of them bleeding, scrambled to help others out of the double-deck Metrolink cars.
"I was thrown forward onto my knees with my face into the seat, and I was just confused. I just saw darkness, and I didn't know what happened," passenger Kim Bailey said.
Passenger Bill Marin said some riders, apparently thinking the train had reached its next station, stood up when it came to a halt and were the most seriously injured.
Robert Kube, 59, of Moreno Valley died at the scene. Another passenger, a 48-year-old man, died at a hospital. His name was not immediately released.

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