LAKELAND, FLORIDA — A passenger train ripped through a semi-truck in Lakeland on Friday evening, injuring eight people.
The Amtrak train had 173 people on board, including 163 passengers and ten crew members. The semi had gotten stuck on the train tracks, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The derailment occurred near US 92 highway at Canal Avenue. The train came out of Miami and was eastbound toward Tampa. Its final destination was New York.
Video from a dashboard camera located on a nearby vehicle shows the train slicing the 18-wheeler clean in half.
Remarkably, there was no major fire despite the fact that nearly 1,600 gallons of diesel fuel in the train’s front engine collided with the semi.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd called it a “miracle” that no one died or suffered more serious injuries.
“A collision between a passenger train and a semi-truck could have been much worse,” Judd told reporters. “Our sympathies are with those who were injured. I don't think I could say enough about the incredible response and total team effort by all of the agencies involved.”
In February, a train carrying 30,000 gallons of propane gas derailed in Sarasota.
“EVERYTHING’S IN SLOW MOTION”
Passenger Charles Lang told Bay News 9 what it was like to be on board during the tumultuous incident.
“All of a sudden, you heard the brakes for about two minutes and then it got harder, and then all you heard was the impact and the front of it went off to the left, and where we were sitting in the food hall, the trailer smacked the side and then it came to a stop probably about 40 seconds after,” Lang said.
Another passenger, Hawke Kirschner, told the station: “There’s that ten seconds where you have no idea what’s going on and everything’s in slow motion, but I walked away from it.”