Amtrak Accident Passengers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/06/03

Amtrak Accident Passengers

Working to clear the wreckage. Working to clear the wreckage.
Passengers wait at the Hinesville staging point. Passengers wait at the Hinesville staging point.

Amazingly, most of the passengers aboard the train that wrecked near Hinesville this morning did not get injured. They were taken to Shuman Recreation Center in Hinesville. There were about 150 aboard, headed to Florida. They say once they got a chance to get off the train and take a look at the twisted wreckage, they knew that things could have been a lot worse.

Dianna Hooper had been on the trip to Jacksonville dozens of times, but now she says she doesn't want to go again. She, like many of the other passengers bussed to the recreation center, had experienced her first train accident.

"I heard a bam, and next thing I knew, we was all on the floor," she said.

"The Amtrak people were great," said passenger Ralph Impink, adding they instructed passengers to stay calm and stay where they were. That was a difficult thing to do after a traumatic experience like this.

Passenger Alfred DeSantis heard "a really loud thump, when he hit the truck." He said, "All the cars, everything started flying all over the place."

"I was thinking that that car was going to go over," said Impink. "And if it did go over, we would have been gone."

Fortunately, most of them made it out safely, and were brought to town for a quick check-up and to wait for their luggage.

"Just a miracle," said passenger Iona Lock of Detroit.

CSX Railroad, the company that owns that track, provided three buses so enable travelers to continue their journeys. They'll take passengers as far away as Miami. Dianna Hooper is still going to Jacksonville, but this time by car.

"We were all luck," she said.

Reported by: Shannon Royster, sroyster@wtoc.com

 

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