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Death toll in Los Angeles train collision rises to 26
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The death toll in the Los Angeles train collision rose to 26 late Saturday after U.S. rescuers completed their search for victims in the wreckage of the deadly crash accident that happened Friday.

Officials said it was the worst train crash in Los Angeles since 1956 when about 30 people were killed in an accident.

LA County firefighters carry an injured person into a waiting helicopter after a Metrolink commuter train en route from Los Angeles' Union Station to Oxnard collided with a freight train in the Chatsworth area, Sept. 12, 2008. [Xinhua/Reuters Photo]

The crash took place Friday afternoon when a Metrolink commuter train collided head-on with a freight train in the Chatsworth area about 50 km northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

A contracted engineer who was driving the Metrolink train was responsible for the crash, said a spokeswoman of Metrolink, the railway commuter transportation system that covers the Los Angels metropolitan area.

The engineer was supposed to pull off in response to a red light and wait for the other train to go by, but he failed to do that, according to spokeswoman Denise Tyrell, who broke down into tears when making the announcement.

"We are deeply sorry and we are totally at a loss. This is a new situation for Metrolink," said Tyrell. "At this moment we must acknowledge that it was a Metrolink engineer that made the error that caused yesterday's accident."

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the death toll might go higher if people succumb to their injuries at hospitals across the region. Among the 135 injured, 47 were still listed as in critical conditions.

Rescuers work to recover bodies from the wreckage of a commuter train that collided head-on with a freight train in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles Sept. 12, 2008.[Xinhua/Reuters Photo]

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