Funerals planned for train derailment victims

Elizabeth Conway Nass, left, and Rose Louese Mayr are seen in their 2010 graduation pictures from Mt. Hebron High School in Maryland.
AP Photo/Howard County Public School System

(CBS News) BALTIMORE - Funeral arrangements have been made for two 19-year-old college students who were killed when a train derailed outside Baltimore early Tuesday morning, CBS Baltimore station WJZ-TV reports.

Meanwhile, police said autopsies of Elizabeth Conway Nass and Rose Louese Mayr concluded they were crushed to death by toppled coal.

A viewing for Nass was planned for Thursday night at Church of the Resurrection, and her funeral will be held there Friday morning. Two viewings were planned for Mayr Friday evening at Harry Witzke Funeral Home with her funeral Saturday morning at Bethany United Methodist Church.

The cause of death was accidental compressional asphyxiation, WJZ-TV reports.

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The cleanup from the derailment is still underway. CSX, the train's operator, hopes to have the tracks open later Thursday, but that may be a tall order.

Crews worked around the clock to remove piece after piece of the derailed train that has paralyzed Ellicott City's historic district.

The National Transportation Safety Board remains on the scene, investigating why the train jumped the tracks and saying answers will take time.

"At this time in the investigation I am here basically to grab the facts, gather the information. It's purely fact-finding investigative, and I'm not in the position to comment from an analysis standpoint on any aspect of the investigation," NTSB investigator Jim Southworth said.

Early Tuesday morning, the massive train traveling to Baltimore went off the tracks near the narrow Main Street bridge. Twenty-one cars overturned, dumping coal into the parking lot and street below.

Nass and Mayr were on that train bridge with their backs to the side of the train as it passed a few feet behind them.

Their bodies were found buried in coal after the 9,000-ton CSX train jumped the tracks.

Federal investigators are looking into whether their presence played a role in the derailment, but experts say that's unlikely.

The last moments of their lives were documented on Twitter.

While significant progress has been made, it is still a bit of a mess in historic Ellicott City with streets closed and coal dust in the streets and a massive effort to get the rest of the trash cleaned up. The incident crushed cars in a nearby parking lot.

Lawmakers are calling for CSX to review its safety policies and whether they were followed.

According to federal investigators, the three crew members on the train saw and heard nothing unusual before the derailment.

The emergency brakes applied automatically, but investigators said it's possible that happened after the derailment was already in progress.

"That's our job here in Howard County to continue to support the efforts that the NTSB and the CSX are doing. We understand the challenges, especially for our merchants and residents down here, the inconvenience here," Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said.

The derailment also disrupted some Verizon communications equipment. And there were environmental concerns about the impact of that coal going into the Patapsco River.