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Amtrak train hits van in La; 4 dead

/ Source: NBC, and news services

An Amtrak passenger train struck a van at a crossing in southeastern Louisiana on Friday, killing four people in the van, local television stations reported.

Amtrak's "City of New Orleans" train was en route to New Orleans from Chicago when it struck the vehicle at a crossing north of Independence, WDSU-TV of New Orleans reported.

The Amite Fire Department confirmed two passengers were thrown from the van, and the other two were pinned inside, WBRZ-TV of Baton Rouge reported. All died at the scene.

Authorities said there are no lights or crossing arms at the train crossing, according to WBRZ.

No one on the train was injured.

Tangipahoa Parish Chief Sheriff's Deputy Dennis Pevey told WDSU the cause of the crash wasn't immediately known.

The collision comes two years after another fatal Amtrak crash in Independence. On June 4, 2008, the "City of New Orleans" was involved in two separate collisions en route to New Orleans.

The first crash injured the 19-year-old driver of a car in McComb, Miss. The second killed two people near Independence, when a car failed to stop for the oncoming train and was pushed nearly 300 feet before it came to a stop, WDSU reported.