The car catapulted and flipped several times upon impact before landing.
MIAMI: Five people were killed last night after a freight train crashed into an SUV at a rail crossing in the US state of Florida, police said.
The SUV driver approached the Plant City crossing, which is controlled only by signage, and drove on without looking both ways, sheriff Chad Chronister told a news conference, citing video footage and witness testimony.
“The conductor of the train did everything he could to try to slow this train down,” and used horns and lights to warn the driver, he said.
The car catapulted and flipped several times before landing a distance from the crossing, Chronister said.
Five of the seven passengers, some of whom were children, were ejected from the car and died.
Rescuers used the jaws of life to extract the driver and front passenger, who are in critical condition in hospital, Chronister said.
The train was travelling at about 88kph upon impact, Chronister wrote earlier on social media.
The sheriff said police were still working to identify the victims but that he believed they were a family on their way to a nearby quinceanera party – a Latin American celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday.