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Rail cars were littered along a rain-soaked hillside after an RCP&E train derailed just before 3 a.m. Friday near New Underwood.

The two-person crew had to be rescued after the locomotive toppled when a flash flood washed out the rail line. The Rapid City-Pennington County Water Rescue team was called to the scene in the 22000 Block of Sharpe Road to free the men from the locomotive that was partially submerged in rising water along the tracks.

After the men were extricated from the wreckage, they were transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital for treatment.

"The two-person crew, who were in the lead locomotive, sustained what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries and were transported by ambulance to Rapid City," said Michael Williams, spokesperson for the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad. "Our current priority is care for the train crew and assist first responders at the scene."

On Friday afternoon, a Genesee & Wyoming Inc. executive said both men appear to have avoided permanent injury even though one experienced a back injury.

"Any injury is too much," said Jerry Vest. "But we are happy that it appears that both men will fully recover."

The eastbound Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad train that consisted of three locomotives and 60 loaded cars of clay, cement and scrap metal encountered a significant washout due to flash flooding at New Underwood.

The three locomotives and approximately 15 cars derailed, with the lead locomotive on its side.

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A Pennington County sheriff’s deputy was first on scene following quickly by the New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department. 

Responding agencies included Pennington County 911, New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department, Rapid City-Pierre & Eastern Railroad, Rapid City Fire Department, Ambulance and Hazardous Material Team, Rapid City-Pennington County Water Rescue Team, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Rapid City-Pennington County Emergency Management, Pennington County Search and Rescue, Custer County Search and Rescue, Black Hills Life Flight, local ranchers, South Dakota Fire Marshal and the Pennington County Fire Service.

There were no injuries to first responders.

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