Train Kills Four Striking “Hunt for Heroes” Parade Float
The “Hunt for Heroes” Parade float in Midland, Texas was trying to cross a set of train tracks when it was struck by a freight train, killing four people on board.
The float was carrying veterans of the U.S. military and their wives and husbands. Two of the dead died immediately, while another two were pronounced dead at a local hospital.
According to the Chicago Tribune, officials say that a total of 17 individuals were injured in the tragic accident, more than half of those seriously enough to require hospitalization.
Most of those injured or killed had been seated on the float as they made their way through the town while travelling to a banquet being held in their honor.
ABC Local describes the scene:
Two people died at the scene, while two others died at Midland Memorial Hospital, City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout said. Six people remained hospitalized Thursday night, including at least one in critical condition; the other 11 people injured have been treated and released, hospital officials said.
About two dozen veterans and their spouses had been sitting in chairs on the float, set up on the back of a flatbed tractor-trailer decorated with American flags and signs identifying each veteran. Many seemed to panic as the locomotive’s horn sounded, said Patricia Howle, who was waiting in her car at a nearby traffic light as the train approached.
Some of those aboard the float, seeing the freight train approach, managed to get up off of their chairs and jump down and away from the flatbed truck prior to the train striking the vehicle which was still stradding the tracks when hit.
“The train honked its horn, but the 18-wheeler could not go anywhere because of the other one being right in front of it,” said Daniel Quinonez, who was in traffic that had been stopped by sheriff’s deputies to allow the parade to pass.
“It was a horrible accident to watch happen right in front of me. I just saw the people on the semi-truck’s trailer panic, and many started to jump off the trailer. But it was too late for many of them because the train impacted the trailer so fast,” he told the AP.