Bright and early this morning, well around 9 am, a knock on the door and interviews with the NTSB representative who has officially taken over the investigation, and then the BNSF representative 30 minutes later. Don't know what I could tell them, I didn't see anything only heard the crash.
They have recovered two bodies, and are searching for the third. It's officially moved from a rescue to a recovery. I was talking to one of the crane operators this morning, and he said that all four men were assumed to have jumped, the engineers first and then the conductors after brakes had been set to slow the trains somewhat. They were hoping to find injured men under crumpled but not burning wreckage, you know, one of those miracle rescues you see after earthquakes and bomb explosions.
Last night was sleepless. 4 billion watt floodlights so they could work to clear the wreckage through the night. Coupling cars, moving debris, BEEPBEEPBEEP, BOOM, CRUNCH, BOOMBOOMBOOM, BEEPBEEPBEEP.... but this morning, the standing cars had been cleared from the tracks and they had started on the crumpled wreckage. I have to applaud the heavy equipment operators, the cranes, the backhoes, the guy that operated the claw thingy that delicately and meticulously picked apart and set aside barely recognizable pieces for the investigators to study.
It was truly remarkable. The guy with the Forklift From Hell that picked up intact boxcars and set them on the tracks and then gently smacked their little bottoms to scoot them out of the way for the next boxcar. The crane operator that picked up the piggyback trailers and set them expertly on the tops of the boxcars. Max and I stood there for probably half an hour watching from across the field before he reminded me that we were there for his walkie not for my lookie.
Continued prayers for the families of the men who lost their lives, and thanks to the first reponders who worked long hot hours to keep a huge accident from turning into a disaster.