SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- Smithfield police are trying to figure out why two teenage boys were on railroad tracks when they were hit and killed by an Amtrak train.
The accident happened just before 2 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of Shelter Way and North Brightleaf Boulevard near downtown Smithfield.
"They said one person was laying across the tracks and it looked like the other one was trying to pull the other one off but they struck both of them," reported a caller to 911.
The victims were identified by police as 17-year-old Robert Naughton and 18-year-old Alan Peedin, both of Selma. Both attended Smithfield-Selma High School.
"These students were part of the Sparta Family and their presence will be missed," said Smithfield-Selma principal Stephen Baker. "Losing a part of your family is always difficult, and we are working with our students, staff, and the students' families to provide any assistance we can to help them through this difficult time."
Grief counselors were on hand Friday at Smithfield-Selma High School.
Friends of Naughton and Peedin told ABC11 that Sunday would have been Bobby's 18th birthday.
"He was the one who always brought everybody up," said Devon Baker. "He made everybody happy and everything."
Smithfield-Selma students are planning to gather around the school's flagpole next Thursday at 5:30 p.m. for a vigil.
An Amtrak spokesperson said the train was on its daily route from Savannah to New York when the accident happened. Ninety-four people were on board and they stayed on board for more than two hours until police cleared the scene.
The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information can contact the Smithfield Police Department at (919) 989-1063.
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2 teens killed in Johnston County train accident mourned by friends, classmates