(MOBILE, Ala) - Preliminary reports show the train that slammed into a float carrying dozens of injured veterans and their loved ones was traveling under the 70 mile per hour speed limit when it collided with the float Thursday, investigators said. There was also evidence of emergency breaking just before the crash, a spokesperson with the National Transportation Safety Board said.
The twisted metal of the flatbed trailer and the train that smashed into it slowly pulled away but the emotional horror from that fateful day still lingers. Four veterans died in the crash, more than a dozen were injured. One of the veterans injured was Citronelle High School graduate Marine Staff Sgt. Jonathan Rose and his wife Colleen. Rose wrote about the incident on his Facebook page the same day he was injured.
"We are ok," the message read, "The wife broke some bones and won't be able to walk for a few weeks. I'm just glad we are ok and hope everyone else heals that was hurt."
As the couple recovers, sixteen NTSB agents are on the ground working the investigation that could last for weeks. "I'm going to remind you. our mission is to determine the probable cause, which is determining not only what happened but why," NTSB Spokesperson Mark Rosekind said from the scene. "That 'why' is critical for us to determine what safety recommendations need to be issued so this does not happen again."
According to federal records, there were 10 previous collisions at the same intersection, The Associated Press discovered. Thursday's crash is another sad reminder of the intersection's history of tragedy.