Reuters reports breaking news this morning of a tragic train derailment. Seven cars of the eight on a Metro North train ran off the tracks on a curved section of the line. Metro North system is the train system in NYC that connects the entire city to the suburbs surrounding Manhattan.
Reuters reported the crash happened at 7:20am about 100 yards of Metro North Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx borough. This was the official statement reported from Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for Metro North, subsidiary of New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The train had been traveling from the Hudson Valley town of Poughkeepsie, about 100 miles north of Manhattan, to NYC Grand Central Station.
“I heard this horrible, whooshing sound…….it was very disturbing, very loud,” said Hank Goldman, who lives near the track. “I jumped out of bed and looked out the window and I saw a light-colored object lying down. I thought it was the roadway to the train. Then I got my binoculars, and I couldn’t believe my eyes, that the train had jumped the tracks right there.”
Passenger Frank Tatulli told WABC-7, a local NY news station, he thought the train was traveling “a lot faster” than usual.
Another survivor told WABC-7 she climbed out of the train car that overturned.
The train operator was injured in the crash. He told investigators when he applied the brakes, the train did not slow down. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters, “In terms of causes, we don’t know exactly what happened.”
Joe Bruno, New York Commissioner of Emergency Management said, “That will be a key point of concern, whether this train was moving too quickly.”
A fire department spokesman confirmed that four died, 11 people were in critical condition, six were in serious but not life-threatening condition. Another 46 sustained minor injuries.
The train was about half full, with 150 passengers. Usually NY trains and subways are quite full, and are an integral part of transportation in and surrounding Manhattan.
“On a workday, fully occupied, it would have been a tremendous disaster,” New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Joseph Cassano told reporters at the scene.
At least one car was lying toppled near the edge of the river. New York Police Department divers were seen in the water but none of the passengers were in the water.
“I was sitting in the first seat in the front of the car facing backwards,” survivor Dianna Jackson, 40, told reporters. “The driver was going around the curve really fast. I was flung six feet. I landed on the shattered window (on the side of the train that hit the ground.) I was lying on my back, gravel was flying everywhere. I was dragging along the ground……Maybe it was a minute, it felt like an eternity, I jus wanted it to stop. I had gravel in my teeth, I was eating rocks. But I was grateful to be eating rocks I’m still alive.”
Metro North is the nation’s second busiest U.S. commuter railroad in terms of monthly ridership.