More than a dozen people were hurt when an Amtrak train partially derailed late Wednesday morning after striking a water truck in Moorpark, officials said.
The derailment occurred at about 11:30 a.m. at a railroad crossing near Los Angeles Avenue. The train departed from L.A.’s Union Station and was heading up to Washington State.
According to the Ventura County Fire Department, the train was carrying 186 passengers and 13 crew members when it hit the public works truck. On Twitter, local photographer Michael Coons said the truck belonged to the Ventura County Public Works Agency.
Of the train’s seven cars, three came off the tracks and were tilted sideways but remained upright.
Sixteen people from the train were transported to hospitals with injuries, most of which were considered minor, fire officials said.
The truck driver was transported to a local trauma center with critical, but non-life-threatening injuries, said David Fleisch, assistant director of public works.
Daniel Frances, a passenger, was in a sleeping berth when the crash took place, jolting him awake.
“We heard a boom and felt a brief jolt,” Frances said. “Then all of a sudden shaking and rocking sideways. It was pretty insane. I had to brace myself on both walls because I thought the train was going to go over. It’s pretty scary.”
Sky5 footage showed the front of the train sustained serious damage while the charred and mangled truck ended up next to the tracks. Evacuated passengers were provided with shade a short distance away and later transported to a reunification center in Moorpark.
“When they hit the car and it woke me up, I heard the crash,” said passenger Elaine Scott. “And then I just screamed.”
“The cars did not technically roll over or go sideways and I think that really reduced the impact to the passengers for injuries,” said Andy Vansciver, a Ventura County firefighter.
Los Angeles Avenue was initially closed in the area between Hitch Boulevard and Tierra Rejada Road, according to the Sheriff’s Office. All roads reopened by 12:45 p.m.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Recording devices were present on the train which may provide more answers to the sequence of events.
Officials are working to quickly repair the damaged tracks and told KTLA a reopening could be scheduled for late Thursday morning.
Moorpark is located roughly 20 miles west of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.
Nancy Fontan contributed to this report.