Witnesses describe impact, chaos as 4 veterans are killed by train

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — A man who had been volunteering at yesterday's parade honoring veterans in Midland, Texas, says it was "a scene of total chaos" after a train hit a parade float carrying wounded vets and their spouses.

The volunteer, who had served as a front-line physician in Iraq, says the aftermath of the collision reminded him of the war. He says veterans immediately started treating the wounded with limited medical supplies.

The crash left four veterans dead and 16 other people injured, as the float took the full force of the train at a crossing. Some people managed to jump clear.

A woman who was on a float ahead of the one that was hit says her float had just crossed the tracks, and was moving slowly. Pam Shoemaker says she and her husband -- a special ops veteran -- heard the train coming, and started to jump off their trailer. She says, "We saw people jumping from the other trailer, and then there was the impact."

She says the other veterans rushed to help the injured, and that her husband was able to resuscitate one person.

The head of the National Transportation Safety Board told NBC this morning that the train was equipped with a forward-facing camera, and that the video could help in the investigation of the crash.

%@AP Links

191-a-17-(Debbie Hersman, chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, in interview)-"some video images"-Head of the National Transportation Safety Board Debbie Hersman says there's often confusion right after an accident, but the investigation will clear many things up. COURTESY: NBC's "Today" show ((mandatory on-air credit)) (16 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *191 (11/16/12)>> 00:17 "some video images"

175-w-35-(Diane Kepley, AP correspondent, with Midland Mayor Wes Perry and Midland Police Chief Price Robinson)--Four wounded veterans are dead following a horrific accident in Texas. AP correspondent Diane Kepley reports. (16 Nov 2012)

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128-a-08-(Ryan Stout, spokesman, city of Midland, in AP interview)-"way we can"-City of Midland spokesman Ryan Stout says the accident was tragic for everyone involved. (16 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *128 (11/16/12)>> 00:08 "way we can"

APPHOTO TXODE102: Midland Police and other law enforcement agencies investigate a truck carrying wounded veterans and their families during a parade that was struck by a train Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 on S. Garfield Street and W. Industrial Avenue in Midland, Texas. A freight train slammed into the parade float Thursday, killing four people and injuring 17 others as the float tried to get through the West Texas railroad crossing on its way to an honorary banquet, authorities said. (AP Photo/Odessa American, Albert Cesare) (1 Jan 2000)

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APPHOTO TXMID102: Hundreds gather early Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, in Midland, Texas, some holding flags, for a prayer service to honor and pray for all those involved in the incident on Thursday where four veterans were killed and 16 other people were injured when a train slammed into a parade float carrying the returning heroes to a banquet. (AP Photo/Reporter-Telegram, Tim Fischer) (16 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO TXMID102 (11/16/12)>>

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