A Metro North Train derailment killed four early this morning on the D train at a major switch. The tragedy occurred around 7:20 a.m. EST. Reportedly, three of those fatalities occurred by those persons being thrown outside of the train, and then at a position under the train car. NBC reported that there are also two critically injured persons being attended to in the hospital. Survivors who managed to escape from the train were straggling out, dazed and shocked by their circumstances.
The car that jumped the rails and flipped over came to rest near the Harlem River’s edge. The condition of the tracks was found to be ripped apart, possibly from the derailment. Sometimes the error in these cases is due to a malfunctioning switch. The Hudson line is suspended indefinitely from Poughkeepsie to Albany. The lack of transportation will affect hundreds of commuters and those who take the Amtrak today.
Firefighters and emergency rescuers were ensconced in action near Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx, where at least two Metro North train derailment cars had flipped on their sides. It was necessary for first responders, who were opening up the flipped car for the injured to get out, to go from the top of the train cars. Seven of eight of the cars were derailed and off the racks. The rescue workers had to use cutting tools and air bags to rescue commuters.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the scene and will then be able to speak to the condition of the tracks, the speed of the train at the time of the accident, and to the engineer’s public statements that his brakes were not working. The Metro North train has derailed twice in the recent past, in May and July. The engineer is reported to be in serious, but not critical, condition.
Police divers were on site hours after the crash searching for survivors in the brisk waters of the Harlem River, and cadaver dogs went through the wreckage. Authorities believe all the passengers have been accounted for, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo told reporters. Investigators and reporters have talked to eyewitnesses, who say the speed of the train seemed faster than normal at the curve. Witnesses who have taken the D train for many years could tell there was a difference in speed.
Joel Zaritsky, a train passenger, said, “I was asleep and I woke up when the car started rolling several times,” he said. “Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming.” Zaritsky described how the passengers were violently jostled about in the train car.
The NTSB has a team already on the job to determine how the Metro North train derailment was caused. Amtrak promised to restore service to its passengers going to Albany. The Hudson Line is a major transportation outlet, especially during the Thanksgiving weekend and for holiday travelers as well. It has been reported that the area is a narrow one, and that it is difficult to get into the derailment site.
One woman was interviewed by NBC, and let them know that her relative had taken the train before the one involved in the accident. She thought her relative was a passenger on board the Metro North train derailment. She was extremely relieved and said, “I feel like I was given one today,” and the woman smiled at her good fortune.
The Metro North train derailment this morning was a shock, as it took four lives and holds at least two more in its hands. It happened on one of the heaviest traveling days of the year, just after Thanksgiving.
By Lisa M Pickering