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Docket of deadly Biloxi bus/train collision investigation released

Published: Jul. 24, 2018 at 3:26 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2018 at 9:36 PM CDT
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a public docket of its investigation of the fatal collision between a motorcoach bus and CSX freight train in Biloxi that took place March 7, 2017.

Four tourists from Texas died when a CSX freight train collided with a tour bus that was stuck on the tracks.

The documents don't offer any conclusions or point fingers at a cause, but show just how in-depth this investigation has been. The report contained more than 600 pages of interviews with passengers on the bus.

The survivors of the tragedy recounted to investigators the horror of watching the train coming toward them saying they felt helpless.

Donna Bartsch said at the point of impact, "I felt like I was just being tumble dried and it was just black. Then the next thing I know I'm looking and I'm standing in the aisle and I can't find my sister at that point. She was just moaning and groaning, it hurts, it hurts."

Helen Dailey remembered, "The bus driver before the impact announced we're going to open the doors and let's in a mannerly order file out of the bus now. A few of them up front I think did get off the bus."

The investigation summary also included video of the accident reconstruction. The videos showed the exact path of the train and bus before the two collided on Main Street.

Accounts of the accident scene were recorded from Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney. Boney told the NTSB that the Main Street crossing and many others in Biloxi have long been problems. He said Biloxi fire trucks and school buses are not allowed to cross at Main Street.

The report noted 25 times vehicles have been stuck at this crossing since 2012, saying most of them were semi-trucks. Two of those times, both in 2017 the train couldn't stop. The tour bus collision was the only one that ended with deaths.

Findings, recommendations, or probable cause determinations were not included in the report. Those findings will be presented at a board meeting in Washington D.C. on August 7. Details about the meeting can be found here.

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