ELLICOTT CITY (WMAR) - Police say that two 19-year-olds died in a Tuesday train derailment near Old Frederick Road in Old Ellicott City.
Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, both of Ellicott City, have been confirmed dead. Nass' family says that she was going to be a junior at JMU this fall.
The crash happened at 12:02 AM on the historic bridge in downtown Ellicott City. Officials say the two were caught underneath coal as it spilled as a result of the derailment. The teens were reportedly sitting on a bridge near the tracks as events unfolded.
"It appears to investigators that the girls were sitting on the ledge facing east toward Baltimore County with their backs to the side of the train as as it passed a few feet behind them," officials with Howard County Police Department shared in a press release.
Officials say their causes of death will not be known until after autopsies are performed.
PHOTOS | View images from the scene
VIDEO | Watch video from crash site
-- Howard County Executive Ken Ulman
According to Howard County executive Ken Ulman, the CSX coal train was 80 cars long and 21 of them derailed near the bridge.
There were two locomotives pulling the train that was traveling from Grafton West Virginia towards Baltimore.
Coal was spilled over much of the downtown area, and there are still several overturned train cars in a public parking lot that need to be removed by heavy equipment. Damage to the cars in the parking lot still needs to be assessed.
Fifty officers from Howard County and Baltimore County responded to the scene. It doesn't appear that any coal spilled into the river.
Officials with Howard County say two train operators were unharmed in the incident. The cause of the derailment is unknown and is being investigated by an NTSB investigative team.
In response to the incident and the investigation, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman released the following statement:
"The train derailment that occurred earlier this morning in Ellicott City is a terrible tragedy, and I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr who lost their lives in that accident. Within an hour of the incident, I was on the ground to witness the swift and coordinated response efforts of our public safety personnel – from both Howard and Baltimore counties – as well as CSX and the National Transportation Safety Board. I want to thank our local and federal partners for their support as the investigation continues, and ask that the community continues to keep the Nass and Mayr families and friends in our thoughts and prayers."
Stay with ABC 2 and abc2news.com for the latest information.
Traffic update : Main Street in Old Ellicott City is closed between Old Columbia Pike and Oella Avenue. It will be closed as the investigation continues. The best alternate route is Route 40.