2023 Ohio Train Derailment: Fact-Checking the Crash

A Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, on Feb. 3, 2023.

Published Feb 16, 2023

 (DUSTIN FRANZ / Contributor via Getty)
Image Via DUSTIN FRANZ / Contributor via Getty

On Feb. 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Three days later, on Feb. 6, the company began a "controlled release" of the chemicals after fears of a large explosion began to grow. 

After the crash, local residents and communities expressed health and environmental concerns. Viral videos and photographs spread claiming to show the crash and its aftermath, including videos of dead fish near the crash site. We analyzed those, and also checked claims made about how many people live in the larger region surrounding where the crash occurred, and how they might be impacted.

Here are the fact-checks we've written so far about the derailment. We'll add to this collection as related stories are published. 


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A striking aerial picture of the train derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio was posted to Reddit.
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An aerial picture purportedly showed the view from a passenger airplane of black smoke filling the clouds down below from a controlled release of toxic fumes coming from the Ohio train derailment.
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Dark black and blue clouds fill the frame. A power line runs through them. You can slightly see a tree on the bottom of the photo, as well as a house to the right.
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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and FEMA released a joint statement about the response to the Ohio train derailment.
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cdc - centers for disease control and prevention
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"50-Car Train Derailment Causes Big Fire, Evacuations in Ohio." AP NEWS, 4 Feb. 2023,

Kim, Juliana. "Ohio Crews Conduct a 'controlled Release' of Toxic Chemicals from Derailed Train Cars." NPR, 6 Feb. 2023. NPR,

Thakker, Prem. "Life After the Ohio Train Derailment: Trouble Breathing, Dying Animals, and Saying Goodbye." The New Republic, 13 Feb. 2023,

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

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