A Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx, New York, USA on Sunday morning just north of Manhattan, in a “bloodbath” that killed four passengers and injured 60 more, authorities said. It was not clear how many visitors and tourists to New York were on the train.
The NY Post reports: The accident happened at 7:22 a.m. about 100 feet north of the Spuyten Duyvil station, as five of seven cars derailed, according to MTA officials.
“I was asleep and I woke up when the car started rolling several times. Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming,” said passenger Joel Zaritsky, headed into New York for a dental convention.
“There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train.”
The train wasn’t scheduled to stop at Spuyten Duyvil and some passengers said the operator tried to apply brakes before the deadly crash.
One FDNY rescuer at the scene said he couldn’t believe the carnage in front of him.
“It was just a bloodbath,” the FDNY Bravest said. “This is the worse accident scene I’ve ever worked. There was blood everywhere.”
Injured passengers are removed from the derailed Metro-North train.
Photo: William Farrington
Family of passengers on the derailed train are being asked to call 311 or (212) 639-9675 for more information about their loved ones’ whereabouts.
The train’s operator — identified as 46-year-old William Rockefeller — was among the four Metro-North employees injured in the crash, officials said.
“The operator is alive,” Gov. Cuomo said at the crash scene. “He was injured and he is being cared for medically now.”
There were at least four dead, 11 critically injured, six seriously hurt and 46 riders with minor wounds, authorities said. The dead included three men and one woman, according to WABC-TV.
The crash happened at the foot of Spuyten Duyvil creek and cars narrowly missed going into the water. NYPD dive teams fished into the water just to make sure no victims were thrown into the creek.
“We believe, we believe, but we need to obviously recreate this. We believe three of the four fatalities were thrown out as the train came off the track and was twisting and turning,” FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano said.
Train No. 8808 originated out of Poughkeepsie, departing at 5:54 a.m., and was scheduled to arrive into Grand Central Terminal at 7:43 a.m., officials said. The cars were being pushed south by a locomotive.
Rescuers were slowed briefly by the steep incline between the street and tracks below.
“The train flipped and there was substantial damage,” FDNY chief of department Edward Kilduff. “The access to the area was a tremendous challenge [to aid the injured] but we were able overcome that.”
Several passengers said the train seemed to be moving too fast on a curve headed toward Spuyten Duyvil station.
“It would appear the train was clearly going too fast on the curve,” city councilman Oliver Koppell [D-Bronx] said.
“I take this train every morning and they always slow on this curve. On first look, it appears the operator was going way too fast.”
The train was going “a lot faster” than usual as it approached the tricky bend, passenger Frank Tatulli told Channel 7. The speed limit coming into Spuyten Duyvil is 30 mph, the MTA said.
“The guy was going on one of the turns fast. I have no idea why,” said Tatulli, who rides this same train into work in Manhattan every Sunday morning. “It [the train] left them [tracks] because it went too fast.”
Gov. Cuomo rushed to the Bronx and toured the crash site. NTSB investigators were set to take charge of the investigation.
“It’s obviously a very tragic situation,” Cuomo said.”What we do know is four people lost their lives today in the holiday season right after Thanksgiving. They’re in our thoughts and prayers.”
Red Cross volunteers set up a makeshift triage operation, prepping injured passengers for ambulance rides to the hospital.
“It [the train] just started to tip and then `bang!’ ” a 50-something woman said as she was treated by the Red Cross.
“I hit the seat in front of me. The next thing, I was sitting on a window and the lights were off. The car was on its side. Everything hurts.”
A 30-something woman, shaking under a Red Cross blanket with an ice packet on her head, was in obvious pain when she said: “It hurts so bad.”
“I was like a bomb went off, I don’t know,” she said, describing the derailment.
Neighborhood resident Brendan Conley said he was jarred awake by the loud crash.
“I thought I heard what I thought was a building collapsing,” Conley, 22, told The Post.
“I came to the window and saw people walking across the tracks. Smoke was coming out of the second car that rolled over. I yelled for my mom to call the fire department. I stood there and saw 40 or 50 people come climbing out of the train on their own.”
Another neighbor, 62-year-old Mike Segell, said the train cars coming apart.
“It sounded like an explosion and I looked and saw the cars hitting each other,” Segell said. “The FDNY got here really fast and started cutting the train doors and windows with grinders.”
Reginald Ragin, 45, was anxiously waited outside Jacobi Medical Center in hopes of seeing his s sister, Sharon Martin, 42, of Newburgh, who was on her way into Midtown where she works for the MTA.
“The nurse said they’re really busy in the back. I asked her if she could please go in the back and check her status. She came back and said she’s OK,” Ragin said.
“That was the most she could tell me. They won’t allow anyone in the back. They won’t tell anyone any other information. That’s why I’m out here right now.”
The northbound train went off rails between the Spuyten Duyvil and Marble Hill stations.