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Washington, D.C., Metro train crash kills 6, injures scores more

Rescue workers help passengers escape the wreckage after  the Monday evening crash in Washington, D.C. The crash took place on the Metro system’s red line, which is its busiest. 

Associated Press

Rescue workers help passengers escape the wreckage after the Monday evening crash in Washington, D.C. The crash took place on the Metro system’s red line, which is its busiest. 

WASHINGTON — One Metro transit train smashed into the rear of another at the height of the capital city's Monday evening rush hour, killing at least six people and injuring scores of others as the front end of the trailing train jackknifed violently into the air and fell atop the first.

Cars of both trains were ripped open and smashed together in the worst accident in the Metrorail system's 33-year history. Rescue workers propped steel ladders up to the upper train cars to help survivors scramble to safety. Seats from the smashed cars spilled out onto the track.

District of Columbia fire spokesman Alan Etter said crews had to cut some people out of what he described as a "mass casualty event."

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said six were confirmed dead. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said rescue workers treated 76 people at the scene and sent some of them to local hospitals, six with critical injuries. A search for further victims continued into the night.

A Metro official said the dead included the operator of the trailing train. Her name was not immediately released.

The crash around 5 p.m. took place on the system's red line, Metro's busiest, which runs below ground for much of its length but is at ground level at the accident site near the Maryland border in northeast Washington.

Metro chief John Catoe said the first train was stopped on the tracks, waiting for another to clear the station ahead, when the trailing train, one of the oldest in the Metro fleet, plowed into it from behind.

Officials had no explanation for the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board took charge of the investigation and sent a team to the site. D.C. police and the FBI also had investigators at the scene to help search the wreckage for any overlooked injured or dead passengers and evidence.

Officials would not say how fast the train was traveling at the time of the accident.

Washington, D.C., Metro train crash kills 6, injures scores more 06/22/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 22, 2009 10:59pm]

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