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Mudslide Likely Caused California Commuter Train Derailment, "Miracle" No One Killed

The Altamont Corridor Express was traveling from San Jose to Stockton when it derailed in Alameda County. It was a “miracle” no one was killed, authorities said.

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The Altamont Corridor Express, also known as the ACE train, was traveling from San Jose to Stockton when it derailed Monday night in Alameda County.

Aisha Knowles / Alameda County Fire Department via AP

First responders work the scene after the commuter train plunged into Alameda Creek on Monday night.

Officials had originally said on Monday 14 people were injured in the derailment, and blamed the accident on the train striking a tree that had fallen onto the tracks.

On Tuesday morning, however, a spokesman for the Union Pacific said nine people were injured in the derailment, and that investigators now believe a mudslide swept the tree onto the path of the ACE train No. 10, causing it to flip on its side during heavy rain, NBC News reported.

Fire officials said four passengers were seriously injured, but their injuries were not life-threatening. Five others suffered minor injuries.

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Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly had said heavy rainfall caused a large tree to fall onto the train tracks, causing the train to derail.

"It was dark, wet, it was raining. It was very chaotic," Kelly told the Associated Press. "This is an absolute miracle that no one was killed, no passengers or first responders."

Kelly said first responders moved quickly through the fast-moving creek to save the people in the front car, which had plunged into the water.

Altamont Corridor Express train official Steve Walker told KNTV the first car was carrying six passengers and one crew member when it fell into the Alameda Creek.

The second car also derailed, but stayed upright. Another three cars did not crash.

The 196 uninjured passengers were evacuated and transported to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, the fire department said.

VIDEO: Train derailment in #Sunol. Rescue in progress. @FremontFire @AlamedaCoFire @CHPDublin @ParamedicsPlus

Fremont Police said the road near the derailment was closed.

Road Closure - Niles Canyon is Closed https://t.co/uUkjfy0QEy

Passenger John Wong posted this video showing people being evacuated from the scene.

The uninjured passengers were transported on buses.

#acetrain remaining passengers are now loaded on buses enroute to alameda county fairgrounds. @AlamedaCoFire

All ACE train service was cancelled on Tuesday due to the derailment.

attention all ACE passengers. There will be no service tomorrow 3/8/16. No ACE train will be operating tomorrow. Thank you.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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