23 freight cars carrying new vehicles derailed in northern Arizona

Authorities are trying to determine the cause of a freight train derailment in northern Arizona that heavily damaged 23 cars and a load of new vehicles.

Coconino County Emergency Management officials said the derailment occurred at around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday east of Williams, which is 33 miles west of Flagstaff.

Coconino County Emergency Management / AP

They said the BNSF train cars were carrying a variety of new cars, vans and trucks.

Photos from the derailment scene showed heavy damage to many vehicles and freight cars, white vans poking out of other damaged rail cars and an upside-down vehicle crushed under another freight car.

County Emergency Management officials said cleanup was already underway Thursday morning.

There was no immediate word from Texas-based BNSF Railway about the derailment.

There have been a rash of train derailments across the country in recent months, deepening concerns about rail safety in the U.S.