The Transport and Communications Authority confirmed that six people were killed Tuesday evening after a Metro-North passenger train collided with a jeep north of the train station. At least 12 others were said to have been injured in the accident.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the driver of the car – a woman who may have been outside her car when the accident occurred – included five people on board the train. Officials said earlier that seven lives had been killed in total, but they reviewed that on Wednesday morning.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said six people on the train were killed, making the accident the deadliest on the railroad.
“You have seven people who are starting today to do their business and they will not come home tonight,” said the governor at the crash site in Valhalla, 20 miles north of New York City, before death. The death toll has been revised.
A railway official said it was not clear how fast the train was, but the limit would be 60 miles per hour.
Witnesses said they saw flames coming from the scene of the accident, in a wooded area near a cemetery.
The fiery scene began to unfold around 6:30 pm. ET when a Harlem Line train from the Grand Central Terminal collided with a black Cherokee jeep at a narrow two-lane Trade Street crossing, causing a fiery explosion that engulfed both the SUV and the train.
He said in a statement that “the gates were smashed from above the car, which stopped on the tracks.” “The driver got out to look at the back of the car, then it came back and moved forward and was stuck.”
Donovan said the force from the collision pushed the Cherokee 10 wagons north of the crossing.
Astorino reported on Twitter that the accident led to the collision of the third electrified railway with the first train car. He wrote, “Pray for the dead.”
The train in question was at 5:44 pm. The train is from Grand Central Station, and is scheduled to arrive southeast at 7:08 PM.
Several police and fire departments responded to what was quickly described as a “mass casualty” incident.
Donovan said the train was expected to stop at its first stop in Chapaqua.
According to the MTA website, Metro-North Railroad is the second largest commuter railroad in the United States. Its major lines – Hudson, Harlem, and New Haven – run north from Grand Central Station to the suburbs of New York and Connecticut. The North Metro transports an average of about 286,000 passengers every day of the week over 795 miles of the route, according to the MTA.
About 400 passengers on the train were evacuated unharmed via the back train carriage. The “Walking Wounded” was taken to The Cliffs in Valhalla, a rock-climbing gym near the scene, Sgt. Michael McGinn of the Mount Pleasant, New York Police Department.
Just before 9 pm. ET, there was a mix of gym patrons and train passengers at the club. The shepherds were unable to leave because the roads around the facility were closed.
The injured were already taken to ambulances, and passengers were waiting for MTA buses to help them continue their commute, said Ryan Cottrell, assistant gym manager. He said that the inner mood was calm.
“We have hot food and all this good stuff, so everyone is fine,” Cottrell said.
A large emergency response team was already in the area responding to a head-on crash at Taconic State Parkway.
Alex Bernier, 26, from Mahopac, was on the train when the accident happened and said he was shocked when the train stopped very suddenly.
“My first thought was that it was a signal error. There was a little bit of confusion on the train. We were all moving backwards,” he said. “People are just starting to open the windows (to get out).”
Moments later, Bernier said, the train conductor made an announcement, informing passengers that a car had collided.
Frank Andrade, 43, South Salem, a plumbing fire protection engineer, was returning home in the evening at 6:10 p.m. The train from Grand Central as the journey begins slowing near White Plains.
“They said that there was an accident by train and car in Commerce, and that we will stay here for some time,” he said.
Andrade said the passengers were on board at 6:10 p.m. They were angry at first, but that general attitude changed as soon as the word crash appeared on social media.
He said, “That’s when the people around me became more concerned about what had happened.” “It was a bit of a mass chaos in White Plains.”
Westchester County Police Commissioner, George Longworth, said he expects the National Transportation Safety Board to have investigators on the scene soon. NTSB said on Twitter that it is monitoring the situation closely.
“It is a terrible tragedy. We have allocated all our resources to correct any problems that may be there and to find out why this is happening,” he said. But he cautioned it was too early to start making judgments about the cause.
Rail safety advisor Grady Kothin said all railroad crossings have gate arms designed to lift automatically if it collides with something like a car on the way down. The arms are made of wood and designed to be easily broken if a trapped vehicle moves between them, he said.
Officials have not commented on whether the gates are working properly.
About five hours before the accident, security advisor Peter Moreno overheard on a police scanner that the railroad crossing gates on Virginia Road in North White Plains were not working properly. He tweeted the information “to let people know to be careful.”
He said the crossing was about one mile south of Commerce Street.
“I don’t know there is a connection,” Moreno told the Journal News. “I know the police were sent earlier today because of problems with the gates. I have no way of knowing if these problems were established or are they actually related. I find it a coincidence. It is something that needs investigation at the very least.” “
Moreno, a Westchester resident who owns KH Security Solutions, said he hoped there would be no connection between the two because Metro-North had encountered “their share of problems recently”.
“It’s horrible,” said Moreno, a retired NYPD captain and former volunteer for the North White Plains Fire Department. “You want to hope to be safe on the trains.”
US Senator Charles E. Schumer, who has called for improved safety in Metro North, said in a statement that he had spoken to MTA chief Thomas Prendergast, “who assured me that a full and thorough investigation had already begun.”
Schumer said, “At this early stage, it is too early to point the finger, but there are many important questions that must be answered in the coming days.”
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said in a statement that he was “simply saddened” by the incident.
“As the MTA and NTSB research this horrific incident in the following days, we need to find out how and why it happened and then take real steps to prevent another tragic collision from ever happening,” he said.
The accident comes just weeks after an electrical problem caused smoke to enter a train in the District of Columbia, killing one person and wounding dozens. In the January 12 accident, a Washington DC Area Transportation Authority train that had just left the crowded passenger terminal L’Enfant Plaza caught in a tunnel as smoke filled cars, killing a government contractor and injuring more than 80 people. The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the cause of the malfunction.
The NTSB Acting Chairman reported in October that five railroad accidents on suburban New York left six dead and 126 injured that could have been avoided if the railroads followed NTSB’s recommendations.
Christopher Hart’s comments came as federal investigators released their conclusions about Metro-North Rail accidents on railroads, including a 2013 derailment in the Bronx that killed four and injured dozens.
Last March, the Federal Railways issued a scathing report on Metro North, saying it let safety concerns slip through while lobbying to keep trains on time. Rail executives have pledged to make safety their top priority.