Tons of coal was dumped when 21 of the 80 cars on the trail went off the rails.
Howard County police have released tapes of 911 calls made shortly after the fatal train derailment in Ellicott City, Md., last month.
The audio includes four 911 calls made shortly after a CSX freight train derailed August 20. The callers sound shocked as they describe the scene, not far from the restaurants and boutiques of Ellicott City's bustling downtown.
"Uh, I'm in Ellicott City, the train fell over," said the unidentified caller. "This is Ellicott City, historic Ellicott City on Main Street. The train fell off the tracks!"
The full impact of the accident became clear not long after this call. College students Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, both 19, were sitting on a railroad bridge as the train passed by, and were buried under coal when the derailment occurred.
The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to investigate the derailment, and it's expected to be months before a full report on the incident is completed.