Hoboken train crash: one dead and more than 100 injured in New Jersey

New Jersey train crash

A train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, has left at least one person dead and 108 people injured

A New Jersey Transit train derailed during rush hour on Thursday morning and crashed into Hoboken terminal, one of the busiest stations in the state, and a huge commuter hub for those traveling to and from New York City.

The victim was a woman who was hit by debris while waiting at the terminal, New Jersey governor Chris Christie said at a press conference on Thursday, adding that most of the injuries came from people on the train.

“The silver lining is there has only been one fatality so far,” Cuomo added, given the extent of the structural damage.

“These are difficult times over these past weeks and months, between terrorist attacks, natural disasters, we have had our hands full in this country, we have had our hands full in the north-east,” Cuomo said. Earlier in September, Ahmed Khan Rahami was arrested for planting multiple bombs across New York and New Jersey. He was arrested following an expansive two-day manhunt.

Michael Larson, a New Jersey Transit employee, said people were kicking out windows to try to escape the wreckage. He said he saw the train come into the station at a high speed, hop over the bumper block, and travel 40ft before hitting the waiting room and coming to a rest.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Larson told CBS. “It was initially, just a horrendous, horrendous exploding noise. Concrete dust, electrical wires and the train flying into the depot.”

Christie confirmed 108 people had been injured on the train, which was carrying 250 passengers..

Injured passengers have been transferred to the Hoboken University medical center and Jersey medical center by New Jersey Transit buses, officials said. Each hospital had about 40 “walking” patients, with roughly 10 in emergency care in Hoboken, and eight in Jersey City.

“We’re all hands are on deck, all our surgeons, our specialty surgeons as well as our critical care nurses,” a spokesperson for the Hoboken University Medical Center said.

Near the station, first responders continually pushed media further back down the Observer Highway, away from the station. The scenes remained chaotic at 11am, with a mix of dozens of emergency vehicles, sirens flashing and media attempting to film evidence of destruction outside the station.

Freight train conductor William Blaine, 53, said he felt “death was following” him after he saw the train crash.

He said he was just outside of view of the train in a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts when he heard a “kaboom” and “the whole place shook”. He ran to the track, he said, to try to help.

Blaine said the train came into Hoboken station fast – around 30mph. Typically, he said, a train would slow down as it pulled into the station at 30, then 20, 15, and then one or two miles per hour until it hits a bumper at the end of the platform.

Blaine also said he stepped over the dead body of a woman, who may have been hit by falling iron and steel debris. Officials did not confirm this to the Guardian.

This marks the fourth train crash in the past three years in the Eastern Corridor, highlighting the dire state of infrastructure and safety technology on trains in the US.

New Jersey Transit has consistently delayed installing safety technology that would prevent accidents by automatically slowing or stopping trains when they are going to fast, known as positive train control (PTC). The federal government has consistently extended the deadline, which is now set to 2018, at the request of the railroads.

The most deadly incident was last year, when an Amtrak train derailed after going too fast around a curve. The crash left eight people dead and more than 200 injured. Federal investigators the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled that it could have been prevented by PTC.

The NTSB reached the same conclusion on a 2013 accident in New York, which left four people dead and 61 injured, New York’s deadliest train crash in more than two decades.

Federal and local investigators, from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NTSB, and Federal Railroad Administration were on the way to the scene to investigate causes of Thursday’s crash and survey the extent of the damage.

Speaking from Washington DC, the NTSB vice-chairman, Bella Dinh-Zarr, said the agency will be assessing the role that PTC could have played in the system.

“We are ready to hit the ground running,” Dinh-Zarr said.

Earlier on Thursday, Christie told CNN there was nothing to indicate the crash was anything more than an accident.

Witnesses have said that the driver of the train was passed out at the front of the first car when the train came into the platform. It remains unclear if the train was equipped with an “alerter” system, which sounds an alarm if the engineer is inactive for 25 seconds, and initiates brakes after a further 15 seconds.

The crash left the terminal severely damaged with steel infrastructure exposed and hanging from the ceiling.

New Jersey Transit trains are not running into Hoboken and several roads leading to Hoboken were closed by police. The train terminal is more than 100 years old, and repairs will probably be protracted. Given that Hoboken is major transit hub through which all major train, bus and ferry traffic that connects the states of New Jersey and New York runs, it could have a devastating impact on the region.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York cancelled a trip to Israel for Shimon Peres’s funeral because of the crash.

Hoboken, which is NJ Transit’s fifth-busiest station with 15,000 boardings per weekday, is the final stop for several train lines and a transfer point for many commuters on their way to New York City.

NJ Transit provides more than 200m passenger trips annually on bus, rail and light rail lines. More than 100,000 people use NJ Transit trains to commute from New Jersey into New York City daily.

 

 

[Source:- The Gurdian]

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