More than 60 people were injured after two Metro-North Railroad commuter trains collided during rush hour Friday evening near New York City.
An estimated 700 passengers were on board the two trains that collided just outside Bridgeport, Connecticut, according to New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. According to MTA, the crash occurred after a train that left New York’s Grand Central Station en route to Connecticut derailed and was hit head-on by another train.
Brian Alvarez, an eyewitness told CNN: “I saw this one car and it was completely destroyed and they were pulling people out of the car. They were all bloody.”
A Canadian passenger, Alex Cohen, on westbound train en route to New York, told NBC News, “We came to a sudden halt. We were jerked. There was smoke.” He added that “people were screaming… they had to smash a window to get us out”.
Connecticut Governor, Dannel P. Malloy, said five people were seriously injured with one passenger being in “a very critical condition.” The injured were taken to two hospitals in Bridgeport. Many of the injured passengers had been released this morning.
According to Bridgeport Police Chief, Joseph Gaudett, most of injured were walking wounded.
“Everybody seemed pretty calm,” he told the Associated Press. “Everybody was thankful they didn’t get seriously hurt. They were anxious to get home to their families.”
MTA in a statement said there are four tracks on the segment on the line where the train derailed, but that two of the lines were out of service due to maintenance work. The route is one of the busiest commuter lines in the New York area.
Both the trains involved in the accident were wrecked. Malloy told a news conference: “It’s pretty devastating damage to a number of cars.
“These cars came into contact (and the impact) ripped open the siding of one of the cars. There is extensive damage in the front and the wheels.”
U.S. transportation safety investigators and regulators are on scene to examine the cause of the crash that happened shortly after 6.p.m. local time. In its statement released to the public, the MTA stated that in addition the police, the FBI are involved in the investigation
Malloy said he had no reason to believe the crash was anything other than an accident.
The collision of the two Metro North trains forced Amtrak to shut down service indefinitely between New York and Boston, the national railroad said.
By Perviz Walji