• By: Hank Stout
  • Published: March 2017
train-bus-collision-bastrop

Image via APNews.com

According to reporting from the Associated Press, at least four people were killed in a tragic bus accident in Biloxi, Mississippi. The crash occurred on March 7th at around 2:15 in the afternoon when a freight train smashed into a charter bus and pushed it several hundred feet.

The accident is a horrifying reminder that despite being considered a safe mode of travel, bus accidents do still happen.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that nearly 70,000 bus accidents take place every year. These accidents result in approximately 20,000 injuries and 300 fatalities.

What We Know About the Biloxi Crash

At this time, the reporting about the Biloxi bus accident is still in its preliminary stage. A thorough investigation will need to take place before we can draw definitive conclusions about the cause of the collision. That being said, early reports do provide significant information.

The Trip

Reports indicate that this bus departed on the morning of March 7th from Austin, Texas. After making a stop in Bastrop to pick more passengers, it then headed towards its ultimate destination, a casino located in Biloxi. In all, at least 49 people were on the trip.

The charter bus was operated by a company based in the Dallas metro area called Echo Tours & Charters LP. Sadly, four deaths have already been confirmed in the wreck along with at least 40 injuries, seven of which are considered to be ‘critical’.

The Cause of the Collision

There are still major questions regarding why this crash happened. According to witness reports published by the AP, the bus was ‘stuck’ or ‘stalled’ on the train tracks for several minutes before it was struck by the freight train. Authorities confirmed these findings to the AP, though they noted that they do not yet know why the bus was stopped.

Certainly, one would think that a mechanical failure might be an issue in this case. However, at this point, nothing has been confirmed. We have no public information regarding the safety history of this particular bus or of the charter company in general. Another issue is the train crossing itself. A witness at the scene suggested that this particular crossing is dangerous because it is “too steep”.

There may be some support for that claim, as federal records indicate that at least 16 other accidents have occurred at this same location over the past 30 years, including two previous deadly collisions.

Investigation

A bus-train collision is disturbing on a number of different levels.The bottom line is that this type of serious accident should never happen. Extensive crash investigation must, and will, continue. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) already confirmed that three investigators will be dispatched to the accident scene. The state of Mississippi has also committed to send additional assistance.

There needs to be an investigation of all parties involved in the case, including the bus operator, the train operator and state and federal authorities who oversaw the safety of the road crossing. Answers must be provided to the victims and their families. Any parties that were responsible for this devastating crash must be held fully accountable.

The aftermath of a serious accident is often devastating, which is why it is imperative that injured parties reach out to skilled personal injury attorneys immediately. Injury and accident attorneys are available to act as legal advocates and assist victims in recovering compensation.