Scores injured in rush-hour crash
A packed commuter train ploughed into a station in New Jersey during the morning rush hour yesterday, with three people reported killed and more than 100 injured, many of them in a critical condition.
The train failed to stop as it pulled into Hoboken station at speed, went up over the blocks at the end of the track and rammed into a wall a few metres away, a New Jersey transit official said.
Another transit employee, Michael Larson, said he heard a bomb-like explosion as the train hit the bumpers with such force that it went airborne – hitting the station’s roof and causing it to partly collapse.
“It was going considerably faster than it should have normally been at the terminal,” he said.
“It went up and over the bumper block, through the depot . . . and came to rest at the wall by the waiting room.”
Social media images showed major damage to the transit hub just over the Hudson River from Manhattan, with the train tangled in wires and debris from what appeared to be caved-in portions of the roof.
Train #1614 was arriving from Spring Valley when it struck the Hoboken terminal building at about 8.45am, New Jersey Transit said.
The accident caused all services in and out of the station to be suspended.
Passengers described the train ramming at full speed into the bumper at the end of the track.
“We never slowed down,” New Jersey commuter Jim Finan said.
NBC and CBS reported three fatalities from the accident.
No official toll was immediately available.
“We have 100-plus injuries,” New Jersey transit spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson said. Nelson said there were about 250 passengers on board at the time of the crash, and it was not known if there were still people trapped on the train.
Finan said it was an unusually crowded morning.
“Afterwards there was some panic,” he said.
“Everyone who was standing kind of went flying. I saw a lot of head injuries and people with cuts.”
Nelson said it was not known how fast the train was travelling as it entered the station, and that an investigation was ongoing.
Passengers described a scene of chaos with dazed and bloodied people making their way to safety.
“We crashed, and the lights went out,” Leon Offengenden said.
“It was pretty chaotic. And people just in shock and everybody has photos and cameras out and iPads. It was pretty intense,” he said.
In May last year, an Amtrak train linking Washington to New York derailed in Philadelphia, leaving eight dead and 200 injured.
In December 2013, a speeding suburban train derailed in New York’s Bronx, leaving four people dead and more than 60 injured.