Canadian rap group Swollen Members narrowly avoided tragedy on Tuesday (Dec. 14) when their tour bus was struck by an oncoming train in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The accident occurred just after midnight, as members of the group were returning home after a grueling two month tour behind their fifth album, 'Armed to the Teeth.' Their bus, dubbed 'The Black Pearl' by the band, lost traction on a railroad crossing and stuck to the tracks. While some members of the crew worked to extricate the bus, the signals changed and the rail barrier began to descend, indicating the imminent arrival of the next train.
"Everyone is lucky to be alive. Everything happened so fast we didn't have time to do anything but get off the bus," tour manager BJ Smith said. "From the time the bus got stuck, to the second the train impacted it, was under three minutes. As soon as we heard the railway barrier go down we could hear a train was coming, so we literally had 45 seconds to get off the bus and get as far out of the way as possible. If anyone else would have been on the bus with us they would have been dead because there wouldn't have been enough time to wake them up and get off the bus."
The group's core members -- Madchild, Prevail, Trey Nyce and producer Rob the Viking -- previously opted to take a flight home, and thus were absent from the bus. After viewing the photos of the wreck, Prevail commented that the the accident would have meant certain death. "Luckily everyone was able to get off just in time, because the bus was totally destroyed," Prevail explained. "The spot where the train impacted was where we would have been sleeping if we had we been on the bus. It's scary to think how fragile life can be when something like this happens."
Though the damage to the train proved to be minimal, the collision set fire to the bus, and emergency crews took four hours to put out the flames and clear the wreckage. After police confirmed that no one had received injury, the train was able to continue its route. Colorado Springs Traffic Engineer Dave Krauth claims to have launched an investigation into the cause of the accident, and the city has vowed to improve the intersection.