Mo. highway buckles after rail cars hit overpass

CHAFFEE, Mo. (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a cargo train collision in southeast Missouri.

Authorities say a highway overpass collapsed early today when rail cars slammed into one of the bridge’s pillars after the collision. Seven people were injured, though none seriously.

The bridge collapsed after a Union Pacific train hit the side of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at a rail intersection. Derailed rail cars then hit columns supporting the Highway M overpass, causing it to buckle and partially collapse.

The collision happened about 2:30 a.m. near Chaffee, a town of about 3,000 southwest of Cape Girardeau.

Only two vehicles were on the overpass at the time.

The crash derailed dozens of rail cars hauling scrap metal, automobiles and auto parts, tossing them into the overpass’ support columns. The highway was shut down for about 8 miles from Scott City to Chaffee.

Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter says the overpass was about 15 years old and in good condition but just couldn’t withstand the impact from the rail cars.

Sound: upcoming

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APPHOTO MOCAP103: Officials survey the scene just east of the Route M overpass where several train cars derailed on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train near Rockview, Mo. on Saturday, May 25, 2013. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the cause of a cargo train collision that partially collapsed a highway overpass in southeast Missouri, injuring seven people. (AP Photo/Southeast Missourian, Fred Lynch) (25 May 2013)

<<APPHOTO MOCAP103 (05/25/13)>>

APPHOTO MOCAP101: Emergency personnel investigate the Route M overpass at Rockview, Mo., about 10 miles south of Cape Girardeau, Mo., after it collapsed onto the railroad tracks, Saturday, May 25, 2013. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the cause of a cargo train collision that partially collapsed a highway overpass in southeast Missouri, injuring seven people. (AP Photo/The Southeast Missourian, Fred Lynch) (25 May 2013)

<<APPHOTO MOCAP101 (05/25/13)>>

APPHOTO MOCAP104: New vehicles being transported on a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train poke out of their damaged rail car after a Union Pacific train collided with it at Rockview, Mo. Saturday, May 25, 2013. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the cause of a cargo train collision that partially collapsed a highway overpass in southeast Missouri, injuring seven people. (AP Photo/The Southeast Missourian, Fred Lynch) (25 May 2013)

<<APPHOTO MOCAP104 (05/25/13)>>

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