In what is shaping up to be one of the most freakish railroad accidents in years, two college girls were killed by a train after it derailed in Ellicott City, Maryland late Monday night. Elizabeth Conway Nass and Rose Louese Mayr were hanging out together on a railroad bridge when the CSX train carrying loads of coal passed behind them and suddenly derailed, sending train cars and coal hurdling to the streets below. The bodies of the two girls wound up being found buried under mounds of coal. (Absolutely horrific.)
And if this story wasn't already heartbreaking enough, the circumstances for why Elizabeth and Rose were sitting on that bridge together makes the entire scenario even more tragic.
They were simply enjoying one last night of summer fun together before heading back to their respective colleges to start the fall semester. Elizabeth attended James Madison University, and Rose was a student at the University of Delaware. They had their entire lives ahead of them -- and I'm sure the last thing on their minds as they sat on that bridge together was that they were about to take their last breaths.
Just moments before the train derailed, the girls posted a couple of updates on Twitter detailing their final night out. One tweet said, "Drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign," followed by, "Looking down on old ec." And the last tweet that was posted is especially haunting, as it read "Levitating," along with a picture of their bare feet hanging off the railroad bridge.
Ugh. This insane freak accident is horrible no matter how you look at it, but I think the scariest part is that it's one of those things that you never believe is going to happen to you. (And yes, I realize they were drinking, but we can't fault them for that. Let's be honest -- most of us drank at 19 even though we weren't of legal age yet.)
Those poor girls were truly in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I can't even begin to imagine the series of "what if" questions that are likely going through their families' minds. What if they hadn't gone out that night? What if they'd chosen another place to enjoy their final night of summer? What if they'd gone back to college just one day earlier?
Sadly, trying to answer those questions won't make this tragedy any less gut-wrenching. Freak accidents can happen to anyone, even to two college kids who were simply trying to create one last summer memory together.
You can hear more about the accident in this video clip.
What words of condolence would you offer to their families?
Image via Gamma Man/Flickr