ELKHORN CITY, Ky. (WYMT) — Kentucky State Police Trooper William Petry said a slip on the mountain near the train tracks caused a Pike County train derailment.
Officials said there are several hundred yards of mud and rocks on the tracks.
Petry said the engine derailed first and the tanker cars carrying ethanol followed. Diesel fuel is what is currently burning. The fire at the site is contained.
Some diesel fuel made it into the river. Officials said it is too wide to use boons to contain the diesel. Right now, the water district in the area shut off its water intake, and Pikeville Water District is preparing to take appropriate action if needed. Officials said the water should only be off for the day.
The National Transportation Board and CSX Police have taken over the investigation. CSX released the following statement:
"At approximately 7:05 a.m. today, a southbound CSX train derailed in Draffin, KY. The train consisted of 96 loaded ethanol cars and two loaded rock cars. Preliminary information indicates that the train hit a rock slide and derailed two locomotives and an unknown number of rail cars into the Big Sandy River near Pond Creek Road. The two crew members were able to exit the derailed locomotive and make it safely to the shore. One of the derailed locomotives is on fire as well as an unknown number of cars. CSX has mobilized its emergency teams and are working with the local authorities to respond to the incident."
Officials confirm two CSX employees were taken to the hospital.
In a post from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 12 Facebook page, Pike County Emergency Management Director Doug Tackett said the employees were in "pretty good shape."
The post also states the train was carrying tanker cars filled with ethanol which, among other things, is used in the process of making gasoline.
People have been evacuated from the area as a precaution.
Tackett says while the chemicals are considered a flammable hazardous material, there is no evidence of danger at the moment.
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