9 Injured After California Commuter Train Derails Into Creek: 'This Is an Absolute Miracle That No One Was Killed'

California Commuter Train Derails in Sunol Creek, 9 Injured
The first car of the Altamont Corridor Express train that derailed into a creek near Sunol, California
Aisha Knowles/Alameda County Fire Department/AP

03/08/2016 AT 09:30 AM EST

When a fallen tree caused a California commuter train to derail into a creek on Monday night, passengers had to fight their way out of danger.

"It just shifted the gravity all of a sudden and we were all just panicking," passenger Rad Akhter told NBC Bay Area. "There were two people hurt, pretty badly. One was just under the mudslide so we were trying to dig her out while the train was hanging, so it was a pretty crazy experience."

The first two cars of the Altamont Corridor Express train, which was carrying 214 people from San Jose to Stockton, veered off the tracks in Sunol between 7:15 and 7:30 p.m., causing the first car to plunge into a nearby creek, authorities told NBC.

The Alameda County Fire Department announced that although 14 people were originally injured in the crash, several were quickly treated, leaving just four in serious but not life-threatening condition and five with minor injuries, according to the Associated Press.

The ACFD and several nearby fire departments were on hand to help pull passengers from both the partially submerged train cars and the creek.

"It was dark, wet, it was raining. It was very chaotic," Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly told the AP. "This is an absolute miracle that no one was killed, no passengers or first responders."





Before the fire department arrived, however, it was up to the passengers to get everyone as close to safety as possible.

"We had to help people climb over seats and help get them through that rear door," passenger Rich Howell, who moved from the second car to help those in the first, told CBS San Francisco. "It was quite a way off from the ground at that point in time."

Another second car passenger, Tanner McEnzie, also spoke to CBS about helping his fellow passengers.

"People were crying for help and I went to find the conductor," he said. "He had flown out the front window, went straight out, had a bad head injury. He was pretty rattled, but I was just trying to stay calm."

Shortly after the accident, train authorities announced that there would be no Altamont Corridor Express train service on Tuesday, according to NBC Bay Area.
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