1 dead, more than 100 hurt in N.J. train crash
HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) – A rush-hour commuter train crashed through a barrier at the busy Hoboken station and lurched across the waiting area Thursday morning, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others in a grisly wreck that renewed questions about whether long-delayed automated safety technology could have prevented tragedy.
People pulled chunks of concrete off pinned and bleeding victims, passengers kicked out windows and crawled to safety, and cries and screams could be heard in the wreckage at the station just across the Hudson River from New York City as emergency workers rushed to reach commuters in the tangle of twisted metal and dangling wires.
The New Jersey Transit train ran off the end of its track as was pulling into the station, smashing through a concreteand-steel bumper. As it ground to a halt in the waiting area, the train apparently knocked out pillars, collapsing a section of the roof.
“All of a sudden, there was an abrupt stop and a big jolt that threw people out of their seats. The lights went out, and we heard a loud crashing noise like an explosion” as the roof fell, said Ross Bauer, who was sitting in the third or fourth car when the train entered the historic 109year-old station, a bustling hub for commuters heading to New York City. “I heard panicked screams, and everyone was stunned.”
The train’s engineer was pulled from the mangled first car and hospitalized, but officials said he had been released by evening. He was cooperating with investigators, Gov. Chris Christie said.
A woman standing on the platform – identified as Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, of Hoboken – was killed by debris, and 108 others were injured, mostly on the train, Christie said. Seventy-four of them were hospitalized, some in serious condition, with injuries that included broken bones, bumps and gashes.
“The train came in at much too high rate of speed, and the question is: ‘Why is that?”’ Christie said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said investigators will determine whether the explanation was equipment failure, an incapacitated engineer or something else.
Some witnesses said they didn’t hear or feel the brakes being applied before the crash. Authorities gave no estimate of how fast the train was going. But the speed limit heading into the station is 10 mph.
The National Transportation Safety Board planned to pull one of the black-box event recorders Thursday evening from the locomotive at the back of the train. The device contains information on the train’s speed and braking.
A woman is wheeled away from the Hoboken Terminal train station on a stretcher on Thursday in Hoboken, N.J., after a New Jersey Transit commuter train from New York barreled into the station during the morning rush hour.