Four people were killed in Midland, Texas, train crash on Thursday after a freight train collided with a flatbed trailers during a parade for military veterans.
The train crash, in which at least 16 people were killed, is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, Reuters reported.
NTSB Chairwoman Debbie Hersman said a team was in route to the scene of the Midland train crash on Friday.
"We want to make sure that we can identify what happened and why it happened so we can prevent things like this from happening in the future,” she said.
The train crash occurred during the “Hunt for Heroes” parade in Midland. The parade kicks off a week to honor wounded veterans.
Two flatbed trailers carrying U.S. military veterans and their spouses were trying to cross railroad tracks in Midland when the second vehicle collided with a freight train.
"The first flatbed crossed the train tracks completely. The second did not make it across before being struck by the train," police said in a statement.
As military veterans and their spouses saw the oncoming Union Pacific freight train, they jumped off the flatbed trailer. About 12 veterans and their spouses were on the truck when it was hit, according to Reuters.
"It's hard to look at. It's a very tragic event, very unfortunate," Midland Police Chief Price Robinson said, Reuters reported.
Among the dead was Army Sgt. Joshua Michael, a native of Hereford, Texas.
Michael, 34, retired from the military for medical reasons and helped save his wife during the crash, the Amarillo Globe-News reported.
“He pushed his wife off the float — my daughter,” Michael’s mother-in-law, Mary Helfey, told the newspaper.
Helfey said her daughter was not injured in the crash.
She said Michael “was that kind of guy. He always had a smile on his face. He would do for others before he would do for himself.”
The Show of Support Facebook page, which organized the weekend of events for military veterans and their families, was filled with condolences following the train crash.
“So sad. I pray that God will comfort the families and help them heal from this terrible tragedy. ...and I pray that this organization will continue the good work that it has done for our wounded veterans,” wrote Matthew Allen Boyd, of Show of Support. “Thank you for the love and kindness you have shown over the years to these heroes.”
“Our prayers go up to everyone involved in this horrible accident. May God wrap his arms around each and every person, from the brave warriors and their families to those that witnessed the accident to the train conductors,” wrote Nonie Taylor Knight. “I am so very sorry.”
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