On Friday night in Lakeland, an Amtrak train crashed into a semi-trailer pulling a large car transporter, injuring eight people and causing millions of dollars in damage, authorities say.
A semi-trailer was moving north on Canal Avenue when the tractor it was pulling got stuck on the tracks. An Amtrak train that had recently departed the Lakeland Amtrak station en route from Miami to New York was approaching at 78 mph.
The driver on the train saw a truck on the tracks and began to honk. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, wishbones and lights caught fire, and the driver and passenger of the truck “jumped out.”
The train, which was carrying more than 170 people, crashed into a truck. It traveled another 200 yards before coming to a stop and partially derailing, causing it to “leak a small amount of diesel fuel,” the sheriff’s office said in an incident report.
Seven victims were taken to a local hospital by ambulance, one person went by private transport, the report said. Their injuries were minor.
The rest of the passengers and crew were flown to Tampa on buses arranged by Amtrak.
According to the sheriff’s office, the initial estimate of damage to the train, tracks, cleanup costs, and losses exceeds $10 million.
US Highway 92 and Canal Avenue North were closed for approximately 10 hours.
The PCSO is investigating the plane crash.
“It is truly a miracle that no one was seriously injured in this accident,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a written statement. “The collision of a passenger train with a semi-trailer could have been much worse. We sympathize with those who have suffered. I don’t think I could say enough about the incredible response and the combined efforts of all the agencies involved.”