Railroad crews are working throughout the night and morning making repairs to the tracks near Hanford.More >>
KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) -
Passengers on the Amtrak train that was smashed into by a big rig say they initially thought there was some kind of explosion.
"It almost sounded like a bomb hitting the train," Edmund Sandals said.
"All I know is it was a loud explosion, just dirt and debris everywhere, knocked me sideways," Tom Evans said.
It was like a scene from a movie as the field near Hanford turned into a mass triage center after the crash happened Monday afternoon.
We never went through anything like this," Maria Maldonado said.
Maldonado was traveling to Corcoran with her daughter and her 1 ½ month old grandson, Eliseo, when the semi-truck rammed right into where they were sitting.
"It hit so hard that the baby flew on the other side. And there was so much debris and dust that she kept trying to jump over me to find him. But I'd was afraid she'd land on him," Maldonado said.
Eliseo's grandma tells KMPH News, the impact of the crash was so great, it sent her newborn grandson into a completely different seat.
"The seat in front of us was literally ripped out and fell on top of him. So I had to lift the seat up and dig under the debris and I found him in his car seat," Maldonado said.
Getting the other passengers out was a challenge as well.
"I looked back, I saw a lot of smoke. Beyond the smoke I realized there was a lot of people panicking. And if there wasn't some kind of control, somebody was going to get seriously hurt," Sandals said.
"So I climbed up the stairs and I got to the top and the car started to tip over up there," Evans said.
"I noticed the fear in the faces as they moved toward the front of the train," Sandals said.
Baby Eliseo was rushed to a Visalia hospital.
Passengers with moderate injuries were taken to Valley hospitals as well.
On scene, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and police officers treated the hurt passengers with only minor injuries.
Those that made it through unscathed were bussed to the Hanford Civic Auditorium.
"Oh this doesn't compare to your typical call. We had a nice quiet Monday afternoon going on when this occurred," Jerry Pierce, California Highway Patrol, said.
It wasn't a typical train ride for the passengers either.
"Dazed and confused would be my best description of it," Evans said.
Baby Elias' family tells KMPH News he was breathing and crying when he left for the hospital and is expected to be okay.
Everyone else hurt in the crash is expected to make a full recovery as well.
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