Eight have died, including the two drivers, and another fourteen are in critical condition. Over one hundred others are injured.
This is the Tel Aviv to Be’er Sheva train and had over 300 passengers aboard. A truck, from a company that happens to be under investigation for pushing its drivers to work illegal hours, came on the tracks at an intersection without a signal, and the train did not stop, or tried and didn’t stop in time.
Just before 6 p.m. the train, carrying more than 300 people, passed through an underpass and headed down a straight, clear track. Crossing a makeshift dirt track was a white Volvo truck pulling a trailer and filled with an estimated 50 tons of powdered coal.
“It didn’t get stuck. He was just trying to cross and the train failed to stop. There was an explosion and everything was flying into the air,” said witness Zuhar Shehadi, a truck driver from Nazareth.
“It wasn’t an attack. It was worse than an attack. People were flying. People were murdered. Screams and fire.”
According to witnesses, the locomotive, which also carries passengers, dragged the truck for about 200 meters down the track until it toppled over, broke away from the rest of the train and began wildly flipping over and over.
Passengers were flung out as the carriage broke apart, spewing wreckage as it plowed into a field of sunflowers.
The second carriage also derailed, but stayed upright as the rest of the train came to an abrupt halt. Passengers shattered many of the windows to escape from the train.
Passengers reported that they felt the driver attempt to activate an emergency brake. They also recalled hearing the driver repeatedly sound the train’s horn, Channel 1 reported.
But medic Efraim Ya’akov, who was in the third carriage, didn’t recall any horns or braking.