GILA BEND, Ariz. (AP) - Two Border Patrol agents rushing to help capture some suspected illegal immigrants were killed Thursday when their SUV entered a marked railroad crossing and was struck by a freight train.
The crash happened in a rural farming area near Interstate 8 and the town of Gila Bend, about 85 miles southwest of Phoenix.
Yuma Border Patrol sector spokesman Agent Kenneth Quillin said the agents were trying to position themselves on a road north of some other agents who were trying to capture a group of suspected illegal immigrants.
The suspects were on foot, and none of them have been arrested, Quillin said. "We do see groups on a regular basis traveling through this area."
The crash happened at a railroad crossing that is marked but does not have railroad crossing arms, he said.
The Union Pacific train with 75 cars was doing about 62 mph when it hit the SUV, pushing it a mile down the tracks. TV news footage from the scene showed the mangled black vehicle in front of the train's engine. Tarps were placed over some of the wreckage.
Before the collision, the train engineers saw the SUV on the access road and blew the train's horn, Maricopa County Sheriff's Lt. Aaron Douglas said.
The agents' names were withheld pending notification of family. They were assigned to the Yuma sector, which has close to 1,000 agents.