An Indian American student has been identified as one of 25 people who died when a Metrolink commuter train had a head-on collision with a freight train near Los Angeles on Friday.
Atul Vyas, 20, was on the train on his way home to Simi Valley in southern California from Claremont McKenna College, where he was preparing for a career as a medical doctor. He was seeking admission in a graduate programme next year at MIT and Harvard.
His engineer father Vijay Vyas was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying: "He was a thoroughly brilliant kid, flying high."
Vyas took the train home every two or three weeks to enjoy the comforts of family, and loved the convenience.
As he passed through downtown Los Angeles, he called his mother to let her know when to pick him up in Simi Valley, his father said.
Vyas enjoyed sports, including basketball, and "all kinds of weird dancing. You know these kids, they're into weird things", his father said. Though of Indian descent, Vyas was inducted into a Latino club at school because "they loved him so much. He was a very popular kid".
Besides Vyas, seven other victims of the train disaster were from Simi Valley, a hidden valley surrounded by mountains and hills. Investigations reveal the accident was caused by the train engineer not heeding a red signal.