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Pa. train derailment leaves cars on riverbank and in water; no injuries or hazardous materials reported

Authorities said it was unclear how many cars were involved in the crash near Bethlehem and there was no immediate word on the derailment’s cause.
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BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the collision and derailment of three Norfolk Southern trains near Easton, Pennsylvania, Saturday morning. The incident left railroad cars along a riverbank and at least one partially in the river itself.

Norfolk Southern confirmed that there is no threat to the public and there have been no reports of injuries and no hazardous material concerns.

“We appreciate the quick, professional response by local emergency agencies. Our crews and contractors are on-scene and developing a clean-up plan,” a Norfolk Southern spokesperson said.

According to the NTSB, an eastbound train struck a stopped train on the same track, and wreckage from the collision landed onto an adjacent track that was then struck by a westbound train.

All three trains were operated by Norfolk Southern.

This photo provided by Nancy Run Fire Company shows a train derailment along a riverbank in Saucon Township, Pa., on Saturday.
This photo provided by Nancy Run Fire Company shows a train derailment along a riverbank in Saucon Township, Pa., on Saturday.Nancy Run Fire Company via AP

Thomas Barndt, Lower Saucon Township police chief, said emergency personnel were dispatched at 7:15 a.m.?Saturday?morning.

Authorities said it was unclear how many cars were involved.

The Nancy Run Fire Company responded, posting pictures showing a number of railroad cars scattered along the riverbank and at least one partially in the water.

There was a diesel fuel spill into the Lehigh River from the accident, and polypropylene plastic pellets?spilled out?from one of the derailed rail cars, according to Barndt.

This photo provided by Nancy Run Fire Company shows a train derailment along a riverbank in Saucon Township, Pa., on Saturday.
This photo provided by Nancy Run Fire Company shows a train derailment along a riverbank in Saucon Township, Pa., on Saturday. Nancy Run Fire Company via AP

Norfolk Southern said that containment booms have been deployed and the diesel will be vacuumed out. The polypropylene plastic pellets will also be cleaned up.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said he is monitoring the situation and communicating with local officials.

At a press conference Saturday morning, Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure said the county EMS conducted three training sessions after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in?East Palestine,?Ohio,?last February, contributing to the “excellent reaction” to?Saturday morning’s incident.

This photo provided by Nancy Run Fire Company shows a train derailment along a riverbank in Saucon Township, Pa., on Saturday.
This photo provided by Nancy Run Fire Company shows a train derailment along a riverbank in Saucon Township, Pa., on Saturday.Nancy Run Fire Company via AP

“We are so glad that Lower Saucon is so well equipped and trained,” he said.

Gary Weiland, who lives across the river in Bethlehem Township, told Allentown’s The Morning Call he initially heard what sounded like a crash, then a period of quiet followed by the sound of another crash.

“As the second one was happening, I went upstairs and looked out the window and saw a splash. I said to my wife, ‘I think a train derailed.’” Weiland said.

The NTSB said its investigation team is expected to arrive on scene later Saturday.

There was no immediate word on the derailment’s cause.

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