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    Feds investigating fatal train wreck at veterans parade

    12:18 PM, Nov 16, 2012   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CBS) -- Federal investigators have arrived in Texas to investigate the cause of a train crash in Midland that killed at least four people. They were on a parade float stopped at a rail crossing.

    Federal investigators say the freight train that slammed into a parade float packed with wounded veterans and their wives was equipped with a forward-facing camera. The National Transportation Safety Board will examine that footage to help determine what caused the crash on the tracks in Midland, Texas. At least four people are dead and 16 others injured.

    The community held a prayer vigil this morning. Midland mayor Wes Perry says, "Reach out to each other, care for each other, love each other the way we best know how to do."

    The accident happened in former President George W. Bush's hometown during its annual Veterans' celebration. The veterans and their wives were on their way to a banquet being held in their honor.

    Witnesses say the parade float, on the back of a flatbed tractor trailer, was stopped on the track when the gates at the rail crossing came down. Trucks in front and back kept it from moving. The train sounded its horn and people started jumping off the float.

    Witness Michael Briggs says, "The gates actually hit the first people on the trailer. It started going back up, and it wasn't I'd say eight to 10 seconds later that the train blew through the trailer."

    A preliminary report from Union Pacific, which owns the freight train, said the crossing lights and the train horns were both working properly. A spokesman said he does not know if the train crew saw the stopped truck. Union Pacific is offering to help the victims' families.

    The crew aboard the train was not hurt, but they're shaken and are getting grief counseling.

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