Kiddie train wreck kills 1, sends several others to the hospital.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The weekend crash of a amusement train ride has left a 6-year-old dead, several children hospitalized and children's train rides across the state of South Carolina shut down.
Six children remain in hospitals following Saturday's deadly amusement train crash in Cleveland Park in Spartanburg. (Full Story)
The train ran off the track on a curve, but investigators have still not determined what caused the derailment. The cars overturned, dumping passengers into a rocky creek bed.
Greenville Hospital System said three from the wreck were still being treated in the Greenville Children's Hospital, the regional children's hospital.
Spartanburg Regional Medical Center said three children were still in the hospital there.
The injured children suffered broken bones, lacerations and head injuries. No information was available on the condition status of the children, but witnesses said that some of the children were seriously injured.
Corinth Baptist Pastor Dwight Easler was released Monday. He suffered a broken ankle and several lacerations on his head. His wife was kept at the hospital for observation overnight after the accident because she is eight months pregnant, but did not suffer serious injuries.
The Easlers' son, 6-year-old Benjamin Samuel Easler, died in the accident, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said .
Members of Corinth Baptist and Central Baptist Church in Gaffney were on the train at the time of the wreck.
Crash Survivors Describe Horrifying Wreck
Elena Calhoun said she was on the train with her 3-year-old niece and 11-year-old nephew.
"I hit the ground pretty hard, and I went tumbling down, and I hit the rocks down there," she said.
Calhoun's nephew, Rodney Morrison, said, "I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to die!'" Calhoun described the scene around her after the wreck.
"It was just, everybody screaming. There was blood pouring from people's heads. A couple of kids were not breathing. There was another child that had his leg from the knee down, pretty much gone," she said.
Calhoun said she had to lift one of the cars so that her niece could crawl free.
Her nephew said, "She probably had her adrenaline pumping."
Calhoun and her niece and nephew were released from the hospital on Saturday with scratches and bruises, but no serious injuries.
Samantha Blackwell, 10, was also on the train with friends when it ran off the rails.
"It was like the third time around, and it was going really fast and then it just completely flipped over and the wheels just stayed on the track," Samantha said.
"I immediately jumped up and I started just screaming and I went to call my momma," she said.
Samantha suffered only bumps and bruises.
Herman Howell said he saw the wreck from his porch across the street. He said he called 911 and ran to help.
"There was just a lot of kids crying and a lot of kids bruising and bleeding over there," Howell said.
He said he helped pull out one boy who was unconscious and bleeding from the mouth.
"I got one that they was working on, the one they had to do CPR on," he said. "Yeah, he was in pretty bad shape."
"I just wish I could have done more," he said.
Train Passed Inspection Week Before Wreck
Jeff Caton, Director of Spartanburg Parks Commission, said the train, nicknamed Sparkles, has been in operation for 58 years. He said it had passed a Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation inspection on Wednesday. Caton said the train was running for the first time since that inspection. Caton said the train holds 30 riders and does not have seat belts.
LLR spokeswoman Lesia Kudelka said, "LLR is aware of the accident and is responding per our protocols."
Caton said the train conductor, Matt Conrad, was taken to the hospital. A spokesman for Spartanburg Regional Medical Center said Conrad was treated and released.
Spartanburg Public Safety is investigating and has called in the South Carolina Highway Patrol to assist in the reconstruction of the wreck.
LLR notified all children’s train ride operators statewide Monday morning that all train rides are shut down pending the outcome of the Spartanburg investigation, according to Greenville Parks and Recreation officials.