(Corrects port authority's land ownership, paragraph 10)
By Kaija Wilkinson
MOBILE, Ala., March 5 Three men were crushed to
death and another was injured when a pile of steel beams fell on
them in the railway car where they were sleeping, Alabama
authorities said on Tuesday.
A fifth man escaped harm and summoned help, Mobile
Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman said.
Mobile police said the men were believed to be transients in
their 20s and had been sleeping in an open car, two on top of
the beams and three below, when the accident occurred early
Tuesday morning at the CSX rail yard.
The beams weigh at least several hundred pounds each, and it
was unclear how many were stacked in the car.
"It's pretty heavy stuff," Huffman said, adding that the car
was being readied to move when the load of beams apparently
shifted and fell.
The injured man was taken to the University of South Alabama
Medical Center. Police spokesman Christopher Levy said his foot
or lower leg was crushed, but that otherwise, "he's going to be
Workers were using a crane to move the beams so the other
men's bodies could be recovered, something that was expected to
take several hours, Levy said.
The car was en route from Virginia to Houston, CSX
spokeswoman Carla Groleau said.
Transients often use rail cars for shelter and
transportation and many live temporarily at encampments near the
rail yard, Huffman said.
Judith Adams, spokeswoman for the Alabama State Port
Authority, which owns property adjacent to the rail yard, said
the incident highlighted the dangers of venturing near rail
yards when one is unfamiliar with the equipment.
"They were at the wrong place at the wrong time," she said.
"It is very, very sad."
(Editing by Jane Sutton; editing by Carol Bishopric)