Cause of deaths determined for teens killed in Ellicott City train derailment

The deaths of two Ellicott City teens who were buried in coal after a CSX train derailed shortly after midnight Tuesday has been ruled an accident, according to Howard County Police. 

Police said Thursday the medical examiner determined compressional asphyxia was the cause of death for 19-year-olds Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, who were sitting near the tracks when the train derailed.

"The teens' bodies were located seated on the edge of a bridge over Main Street," police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said in a news release Tuesday. "It appears to investigators that the girls were sitting on the ledge facing east toward Baltimore County with their backs to the side of the train as it passed a few feet behind them.

"For an unknown reason, the train derailed, causing open cars filled with coal to tip over. Both Nass and Mayr were buried under the coal as it dumped from the train cars."

No other details of the autopsy are being released, police said. 

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is in charge of the investigation, has not yet determined the cause of the derailment.

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