National News from ABC

NTSB investigating after 3 killed in 2 high-speed train collisions at same rail crossing this week

THEPALMER/Getty Images

(FLORIDA) — The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating after three people were killed in two separate vehicle-train collisions at the same high-speed rail crossing in Florida this week.


On Friday, two people were killed — the driver and passenger — after a Brightline train struck their Chevrolet Avalanche pickup truck, Melbourne police said.

Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey told reporters at the scene that the vehicle tried to outrun the train.

The deadly collision came two days after a Brightline train struck a Honda Element SUV at the same crossing. The driver was killed and three others injured, police said.

Both vehicles were traveling west on WH Jackson Street, police said. The crashes remain under investigation.

The NTSB said Saturday it is sending a team to conduct a safety investigation into Friday’s “fatal grade crossing crash.” The investigation will include looking at the crash history, including Wednesday’s incident, an NTSB spokesperson said.

“NTSB investigators arrived on site this morning to begin the on-scene portion of the investigation,” the agency said in a statement on Saturday. “They will be collecting perishable information and documenting the scene for several days.”

A preliminary report is expected to be released within 30 days and final findings in 12 to 24 months.

“Investigators will work to better understand the safety issues at this crossing and will examine opportunities to prevent or mitigate these crashes in the future,” the NTSB said.

Following Friday’s collision, Mayor Alfrey urged drivers to follow safety measures at train crossings, saying, “When the arm is down, don’t go around!”

“I have spoken to Brightline officials and we will be ramping up a public safety campaign,” he said in a Facebook post. “There is NO good outcome against a train!”

ABC News did not immediately receive a response from Brightline to an email seeking comment on this week’s crashes.

Brightline, Florida’s high-speed rail, began offering passenger service between Miami and Orlando in late September, passing through Melbourne.

Since the service launched, there have been two other deadly incidents involving Brightline trains in Melbourne.

On Oct. 19, a female pedestrian was struck and killed by a train at a rail crossing in the area of Aurora Road and Cypress Avenue, police said. On Dec. 24, a 36-year-old female pedestrian was struck and killed by a train in the same area, police said.

Brightline ran a public safety campaign ahead of launching the new service, which has increased train traffic in the city of Melbourne, located about 70 miles southeast of Orlando.

“Years ago we had five or six trains maybe a day, and now we’re getting five, six times that,” Alfrey told WPLG following Wednesday’s fatal collision. “You really have to focus on your safety, your passenger’s safety.”

Alfrey told reporters at the scene following Friday’s incident that they need to do another, “aggressive” public safety campaign on rail safety. He also touched on other safety measures, such as enhanced barriers.

“This area — it doesn’t require a quad gate at this location, maybe that’s something that needs to be brought in,” he said.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App

×

Site Designed & Hosted by Eves Digital