Train hits float in Texas veterans parade, four dead

SAN ANGELO, Texas Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:43am IST

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SAN ANGELO, Texas (Reuters) - Four people were killed and 17 others injured on Thursday when a train crashed into a parade float carrying veterans and their spouses in West Texas, police and parade organizers said.

Ten of the hospitalized were in critical condition and another seven were listed as stable, Midland Police Chief Price Robinson said.

Robinson said the Union Pacific train struck an open trailer that was carrying veterans and their spouses as it was being pulled across the train tracks at around 4:30 p.m.

"It's hard to look at. It's a very tragic event, very unfortunate," Robinson said, speaking from the site of the accident.

The float was carrying veterans through Midland, Texas, to a banquet in their honor, said Sonny Cleere, an organizer of the Hunt for Heroes event in San Angelo, Texas.

The parade kicked off a weekend of events, including the banquet and a hunting expedition, to honor wounded veterans, Cleere said.

"It has been a horrible thing," he said. "The people in Midland that were hosting the banquet tonight are in a state of shock."

Authorities did not immediately release names of those injured or killed.

(Reporting by Matthew Waller; Writing by Mary Slosson; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jackie Frank)

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