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Plaque will honor Metrolink victims

Los Angeles officials to unveil memorial for 25 dead

Posted: September 10, 2009 10:05 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2009 8:00 a.m.
 
Relatives of the 25 people killed in last year’s Chatsworth Metrolink train crash will gather with civic leaders Saturday on the anniversary of the wreck to commemorate the victims with a special plaque, Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith announced Thursday.

“The tragedy one year ago really shook this community, and it was the biggest tragedy we’ve ever seen in the history of this city,” said Smith’s chief of staff Mitch Englander, who joined first responders in the initial rescue efforts.

Among the victims of the crash was 18-year-old Kari Hsieh, a graduate of Hart High School.

Saturday’s ceremony will include  the release of 25 doves, a helicopter fly-over and an unveiling of the plaque, which includes the 25 victims’ names. The plaque will be installed on a boulder later this week, said Matt Myerhoff, a spokesman for Smith.

The memorial service will begin 9:30 a.m. and is expected to include victims’ family members, first responders and city officials, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Myerhoff said.

Topanga Canyon between the 118 Freeway and Chatsworth Street will be closed Saturday.

The ceremony will be open to the public. Those who attend are advised to use the free shuttle service from the Church of Rocky Peak, located at 22601 Santa Susana Pass Road in Chatsworth.

In the Sept. 12 crash, more than 100 others were injured — some severely. The wreck has sparked lawsuits and proposals for safety improvements to Metrolink trains.

Englander said the plaque will help the families and community deal with the loss.

“This memorial adds some closure, but (it) also adds a permanent monument,” Englander said. “We were scarred. It’s something words can’t ever explain.”

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