A District of Columbia Fire Department Web site said rescue workers located three bodies in the wreckage late Monday night. All three were declared dead at the scene. Earlier Monday, officials confirmed six deaths, including the operator of the trailing train, 42-year-old Jeanice McMillan of Springfield, Va. Metro spokesman Steve Taubenkibel said McMillan had been a Metro employee since January 2007.
According to an update posted on the Metro Web site, there are at least "one hundred injuries, many serious, according to preliminary reports."
The accident occurred on a curved section of track after a long straightaway, during clear weather, on the subway system's most heavily used line. It was about 5:00 p.m. on the city's red line in northeast Washington between the Takoma Park and Fort Totten stations. A Metro train car was stalled, waiting for clearance into the Fort Totten station, when a second one plowed into it from behind, according to D.C. fire officials.
An automated computer system used to run trains was supposed to keep them apart, but it was not clear whether the system was in use when the crash occurred. Officials would not say how fast the train was traveling at the time of the accident.
More than 200 firefighters from D.C., Maryland and Virginia converged on the scene. Rescue workers propped up ladders to help survivors escape from the upper train cars. Seats from the smashed cars spilled out onto the track. District of Columbia Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said rescuers treated 76 patients at the scene in the first two hours.
"This is the deadliest incident in the history of Metro," Washington City Councilman Jim Graham said. He described the wreckage with a single word: "horror."
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