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Accident Report Detail

 
Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. Freight Train Derailment & Puncture of Hazardous Materials Tank Cars

Executive Summary

About 8 a.m., on April 8, 1979, 29 cars, including 26 placarded tank cars containing hazardous materials, of Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company freight train No. 403 derailed while moving around a curve between Milligan and Crestview, Florida. Two tank cars of anhydrous ammonia ruptured and rocketed. Twelve other cars containing acetone, methyl alcohol, chlorine, carbolic acid, and anhydrous ammonia ruptured, and their contents either burned or were consumed by fire. Fourteen persons were injured as a result of the release of anhydrous ammonia and other materials or during the evacuation of 4,500 persons. Property damage was estimated to be $1,258,500.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the large compressive force generated between the 36th and 37th cars by a combination of excessive train tonnage and improper train handling which caused the 36th car to overturn the outside rail of the curve and derail. Contributing to the severe consequences of the accident was the release of anhydrous ammonia and other hazardous materials, through ruptures and punctures in the sides of the tank cars, which caused all of the injuries and led to the evacuation of 4,500 persons from the area.


Accident Location: Crestview , FL    
Accident Date: 4/8/1979
Accident ID: 79806

Date Adopted: 9/13/1979
NTSB Number: RAR-79-11
NTIS Number: PB80-103567

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