Four people were killed and several others were hurt when a freight train hit a charter bus in Biloxi, Mississippi, on Tuesday, authorities said.
The accident happened shortly after 2 p.m. local time (noon PT). Around 50 people were on the bus, which was traveling from Austin, Texas, Police Chief John Miller said. Thirty-five people have been transported to hospitals, Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said.
"It's a terrible, chaotic scene," Miller said. "We're not sure about the bus itself, why it was stopped, if it was having engine problems or what," he said.
The bus was on the tracks at Main Street when it was struck by the eastbound train, Miller said. It is believed the bus was headed to a casino, authorities said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was aware of the crash and monitoring information.
The train pushed the charter bus approximately 300 feet down the tracks, Biloxi city spokesman Vincent Creel told the Biloxi Sun Herald newspaper.
Witnesses told the newspaper the bus became stuck on the tracks.
"Maybe it was about 5 or 10 minutes before the train arrived at that intersection," Mark Robinson told the newspaper. "He was blowing his horn and doing all kinds of different things trying to get the bus off the tracks, but it got stuck."
A spokesman for railroad company CSX said the mixed freight train was traveling from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, and had three locomotives and 52 cars, 27 of which were loaded. No one on the train was hurt.
"Our thoughts are with all involved," CSX spokesman Gary Sease said. The bus is owned by Echo Transportation, authorities said. Echo Transportation President and CEO John Ferrari said the company was in touch with authorities.