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One dead, 11 injured in L.A. cable car collision

cable accident
The two cable cars collided in downtown Los Angeles  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Two cable cars collided in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, killing one person and injuring 11, two of them critically, fire department and hospital officials said.

The crash happened at 12:17 p.m., said fire department spokesman Bob Collis. He said the injured were taken to three local hospitals. Four people were treated at the scene.

An 83 year-old male victim who was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Hospital later died from massive head and chest wounds, according to Adelaida De La Cerda, a spokeswoman for the hospital.

Initial reports indicated a cable from one of the cars snapped, and one car slid down the 315-foot sloping track into a second.

The cable cars are known as the Angels Flight, a two-car funicular that carries tourists and residents up and down the track for 25 cents each way.

That's five times the cost of a ride at the opening in 1901 of the Los Angeles Incline Railway, which connected the original downtown shopping district below with the posh residential area of Bunker Hill.

After World War II, the Bunker Hill area declined and in the 1960s the area was razed to make way for an urban renewal project, office buildings and a senior citizen's condominium complex called Angelus Plaza.

To make way for the construction, the city dismantled Angels Flights in 1969 and stored it for 27 years.

Rebuilt for $4.1 million, the railway reopened in 1996 a half block from its original location, and contains 60 per cent original material, including the rail cars, the station house, two station arches and the now unused gear mechanism.

The trestle and track structure are new and seismic-resistant.

The railway is maintained and operated by the Angels Flight Railway Foundation.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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