CSX train derails, 4 cars land in river

By Hillary Thornton | 

DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WYMT) - A train derailment just below the small town of Haysi, Virginia, caused some concern for folks both in Virginia and Kentucky.

Officials say just before 10 o'clock Saturday morning, approximately 18 CSX cars were derailed near lower Splashdam Road in Dickenson County, sending four train cars into the Russell Fork River which runs into Kentucky.

Doug Tackett with Pike County Emergency Management says, "We were told at first that there was probably product in the water from one of the cars that had derailed. We went over to meet with the Virginia officials and found out there was really no product that had spilled into the river."

Incident commander, Rocky Wood explains,"All of them are empty that's in the water, we do have a tanker that is derailed that is carrying an acid that is leaking but it is not in the waterway at this time."

Due to the initial possibility of chemicals in the waterway, officials at Breaks Interstate Park played it safe by closing off river and garden hole access. Park superintendent, Matt O'Quinn says, "We hate to limit any recreational access but we have to error on the side of caution this time and make sure all the fish are ok, the water is ok, and people can enjoy themselves in a safe way."

Virginia hazardous material crews were called to the scene and officials say they expect to be there through the night. Wood says, "The main thing is we are trying to keep it from getting into the waterway because it does run into Kentucky."

There were no injuries reported in the accident.

CSX Corporation released the following statement:

At approximately 10 am today (3-23-13), a train enroute from Hamlet, North Carolina, to Russell, Kentucky, with two locomotives and 64 freight cars derailed in Haysi, Virginia. A total of 18 cars are derailed. There are no reported injuries or evacuations. One of the cars contained propionic acid, a corrosive material used in a variety of purposes, including in herbicides, preservatives for grain and woodchips, and mold inhibitors for bread. This is the only car reported to be leaking. Another car previously carried a load of sodium hydroxide. Four cars are reported to be in the Russell Fork River. It does not appear that any of the propionic acid entered the river.

CSX is working closely with state and local emergency responders and environmental officials. Crews are on the scene to address the hazardous materials cars and to clear the derailment.

The first concern for CSX is protecting the safety of the public and the emergency responders. The cause is under investigation.

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