ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) –The train derailment that killed two Ellicott City college students sent shockwaves through the community.
WJZ has obtained the 911 calls from the accident.
Monique Griego has the frantic calls for help.
Many callers reported the damage but still had no idea the crash had turned deadly.
Immediately after a CSX train jumped the tracks in downtown Ellicott City, calls from stunned bystanders began pouring into Howard County 911.
Caller: “I’m in Ellicott City. The train fell over.”
911: “Where is that?”
Caller: “This is Ellicott City right on Main Street. The train fell off the track.”
911: “Is it on the road?”
Caller: “No, it’s derailed.”
The derailment that sent 21 cars off the tracks and onto Main Street left a trail of wreckage.
Some callers even witnessed the crash first-hand.
Caller: “There is debris in the road, on Main Street. It looks, I guess the car tipped over and dumped the coal into the street.”
911: “Did you see it happen?”
Caller: “I heard it happen. It pretty much happened right in front of me, yeah.”
What callers didn’t know was that under the debris were two young college students, killed after being buried by coal.
In those first moments after the crash, bystanders were worrying about what the train was carrying and if residents were still in danger.
911: “I am just trying to determine if there’s any poison or any fire or anything like that coming off. Is it a freight train, is cargo what it has on it?”
Caller: “Yeah, it’s a cargo train. There’s no fire, no smoke. Let me go down toward the bridge to make sure nothing fell off because it is a small bridge.”
911: “Can you see? Do you see anything leaking or any smoke, smell anything?
Caller: “Smells a little bit like oil, bunch of gravel from one of the trains came off the side.”
An investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing.
Since the crash, authorities have installed a fence at the top of the stairs leading to the elevated tracks over Main Street. Police have also increased patrols to keep people off the bridge where the train derailed.