A train conductor was killed when several freight cars derailed on tracks near the SunRail station in Sanford on Thursday morning, authorities said.
The derailment happened on a track near SunRail construction off State Road 46, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, which identified the killed conductor as 36-year-old Christopher Putfark of Deltona.
Troopers and Florida Department of Transportation officials said a train was pushing 10 cars loaded with gravel backward about 6:30 a.m., when four of the cars derailed.
Putfark was on the outside of the last car acting as a spotter, officials said, and was fatally crushed under the falling car and buried in spilled gravel.
At a press conference Thursday, FHP Sgt. Kim Montes told reporters that the investigation was in its early stages, and the cause of the derailment hadn't been determined.
"We've got to look at everything: We've got to look at the track, we've got to look at the train, we've got to look at the speed," Montes said. "We've got to look at everything."
Seminole County emergency personnel wheeled a stretcher to the scene as a crane was brought in to lift the turned-over rail car that pinned and killed Putfark.
The aggregate inside the car would've increased the rail car's weight to more than 189,000 pounds.
Montes confirmed that Putfark was an employee of Conrad Yelvington Distributors, Inc., the Daytona Beach-based company which owns the train.
The company operates mainly in Florida, Alabama and southern Mississippi.
According to its website, Conrad Yelvington distributes 10 million tons of aggregate annually. Its products include granite, river gravel, limestone, sand and decorative stone.
The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Thursday.
The derailment happened near the SunRail station at State Road 46 and Airport Boulevard. The station is under construction and about 90 percent complete.
FDOT spokesman Steve Olson said the derailed cars were not expected to impact normal train traffic in the area, because they weren't on the main lines.
The freight train's derailment comes as SunRail is set to begin testing its commuter trains soon. The new system, Central Florida's first attempt at mass transit along a fixed route, is expected to start carrying paying passengers in May.
The $1.2 billion project is Initially it will run from DeBary through downtown Orlando to south Orange County, with a maintenance yard in Sanford.
By 2016, SunRail is to grow north to DeLand and south to Poinciana in Osceola County.