(Bayard, New Mexico – November 30, 2013)
Three employees aboard a single locomotive pulling a train of eight cars loaded with an iron-like metal ore called magnetite were killed Saturday about noon when their locomotive left the track and rolled into a 40-to-50 foot deep ravine. The rail cars continued to roll down the track for some distance before derailing themselves as they rounded a curve three miles from Bayard, NM.
The operation was under the control of the Southwestern Railroad, a Class III short line owned and operated by the Ogden, UT-based Western Group, which also owns three other railroads in three other states.
The three killed were Steven Corse, 60, of Silver City, NM, as well as Donald White, 38, and Ann Thompson, 50, both of Paulden, AZ. No identification of what positions each held with the railroad was available.
The Southwestern RR operates via a lease over property owned by its primary customer, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Corporation, which owns and operates the Chino Mine.
Although both the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to conduct independent investigations, the New Mexico State Police and Grant County Sheriff’s Office were gathering preliminary investigatory information after each responded to the accident. The Silver City Fire Dept. was called to both extricate the victims from the wreckage as well as to contain a diesel fuel leak and assist with hazmat cleanup operations.