It was March of last year when four people tragically passed away after a train collided with a charter bus stuck on railroad tracks in Biloxi. Today, the National Transportation Safety Board released their findings on the collision.
March 7th, 2017 started out as a fun day of touring the Coast for the nearly 50 senior citizens on board the bus. That is until things took a deadly turn as the bus driver attempted to cross the railroad tracks at the intersection of Esters Boulevard and Main Street in Biloxi and got stuck, unable to get out of the path of an oncoming train.
One year and five months to the day later, the National Transportation and Safety Board livestreamed the findings from their investigation. NTSB Member T. Bella Dihn-Zarr said, “In the report and in our discussions, there seems to be a lot of confusion about who bears the responsibility for repairing the dangerous crossings.”
Vincent Creel with the City of Biloxi said, “The NTSB looked at all the factors of this accident and of this tragedy and as a result of what their investigation showed, they’ve made a number of recommendations. For the city, one of the recommendations is better communication among our various departments.”
The investigation also recommended pre-trip briefings on bus tours, noting that more bus passengers may have been able to escape had the bus company given a pre-trip briefing, showing how to use all the exits on the bus.
While the NTSB acknowledged warning signs at Biloxi intersections, investigators found they were not adequate warnings at high grade crossings. Biloxi Spokesman Vincent Creel tells News 25 city leaders plan to dissect all of the NTSB’s findings and address the issues the city can take care of, including increasing communication among those responsible for these crossings.
While they’re aware of the hazards, Creel says repairing these crossings is not under their authority. “What we do have an obligation to do is to let our motoring public know about the dangers at these crossings. We do that through signage. Another thing we can do is close some crossings. We’re looking to close some crossings now.”
Creel says that while they’re doing everything they can to increase communication on the dangers of the railroad crossing, he hopes people don’t forget the true tragedy. “One thing that we hope is not lost in all of this is that four people lost their lives and we certainly always want to remember that.”