PHOTOS: Drone images show coal from derailed CSX train going into the James River

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Drone footage shows that coal from a train that derailed in Richmond near Hollywood Cemetery on Friday, has started to fall into the James River on Saturday.

An official with CSX said the 13 coal cars derailed at about 1:30 p.m. on July 23, in Richmond near Tredegar Street and the Lee Bridge. On Friday, they said a few of those cars spilled some of the coal onto the ground, but there was no impact to the nearby waterways.

Saturday, a viewer sent 8News drone footage of the train derailment. These videos and photos show that coal from the train has now begun to fall into the James River.

Walker Smithson said he flew his drone over the scene of the derailment at about 11:30 a.m. on July 24.

Yesterday, CSX told 8News it was working to recover the coal, remove the derailed cars and restore the area. However, Smithson said for the hour he flew his drone, he saw no activity.

“Considering no one was onsite for an hour the entire time I was using my drone was astonishing,” Smithson said.

He told 8News he was concerned about the corporations’ lackluster transportation of fossil fuels and the lack of response.

“I think holding people accountable is one of the most important things we can do in our society and I don’t always trust corporations like CSX because this is not the first time this has happened in that area,” Smithson said.

In an updated statement on Saturday, CSX said they performed a “controlled dump” of the remaining car from the damaged cars in order to clear the area. They added environmental measures were deployed to ensure there is no impact from the coal before it is removed from the scene.

CSX said it is working closely with the city and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to make sure they completely restore the area. They added the cause of the incident is still under investigation.

However, Smithson said his visit to the scene left him with more questions than answers.

“Who’s going to pay for it? What are the overall environmental consequences of dumping that much coal to the James,” he asked.

This is a developing story, stay with 8News for updates.

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