published Saturday, November 17th, 2012

NTSB: Signals activated before float on tracks

A flag is left at the scene of an accident where four veterans were killed and 16 other people were injured when a train slammed into a parade float carrying the returning heroes to a banquet last Thursday in Midland, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Federal investigators were trying to determine whether the two-float parade had been given enough warning to clear the tracks
A flag is left at the scene of an accident where four veterans were killed and 16 other people were injured when a train slammed into a parade float carrying the returning heroes to a banquet last Thursday in Midland, Texas on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Federal investigators were trying to determine whether the two-float parade had been given enough warning to clear the tracks
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MIDLAND, Texas — Federal investigators say the warning signals at a railroad crossing in West Texas were activated before a parade float crossed the tracks in an accident that killed military veterans.

National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind made that announcement at a news conference Saturday. He said the signals had been activated seven seconds before the float crossed the tracks.

Four veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were killed Thursday when a freight train slammed into the parade float in Midland. Sixteen people were injured.

Rosekind said the NTSB reconstructed the accident using video cameras from the train and a sheriff’s vehicle.

He said the train started sounding its horn nine seconds before it hit the float. The train engineer also used the emergency brake five second before the crash.

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