Updated at: 09/25/2013 8:05 PM
(AP) AMARILLO, Texas - Three freight trains collided in the Texas Panhandle before dawn Wednesday, derailing up to 30 cars and injuring four crewmembers including two critically.
An eastbound BNSF Railway train rear-ended a stopped train, just east of Amarillo, then moments later a westbound train collided with the two-train wreck, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The accident was reported shortly after 4:30 a.m.
"The wreckage was mangled up," said DPS Trooper Chris Ray.
Four people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Ray said.
"It sounded like thunder," truck driver Sandy Strickland, who was nearby when the accident happened, told the Amarillo Globe-News.
Joe Faust, a spokesman for Fort Worth-based BNSF, said no hazardous material spilled and that the trains were hauling flatbed cars carrying truck trailers.
The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board sent inspectors to the scene.
Preliminary estimates indicate between 20 and 30 cars derailed, Faust said. KFDA-TV reported that at least one locomotive ended up on its side.
Rail traffic was being rerouted and there was no immediate timetable for clearing the tracks, Faust said.
No nearby residents were in danger due to the accident.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)