6 Die When Packed Metro-North Train Hits Car on Tracks, Sparking Fiery Crash: Officials
Six people were killed when a Metro-North train packed with commuters from New York City hit a car on the railroad tracks in Westchester at the height of evening rush hour, sparking a fiery crash that's also injured at least 12 people, officials say.
The train, which left Grand Central Terminal at 5:44 p.m., was going northbound on the Harlem line when it struck the Jeep Cherokee at the Commerce Street crossing in Valhalla at about 6:30 p.m., pushing the car about 10 train-car lengths up the track, officials said.
The railroad crossing gates had come down on top of the Jeep, which was stopped on the tracks, according to MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan. The driver got out to look at the back of the car, then got back in and drove forward when she was struck. The Jeep driver was killed in the crash, and five passengers on the train were also killed.
The third rail also apparently pierced the train but did not hit any passengers, Donovan said. Chopper 4, first over the scene, showed the railroad crossing gates appeared to be down. There was a massive emergency response as train cars continued to smolder, sending thick plumes of smoke into the air. Ladder units were on the scene.
Stacey Eisner, an NBC Universal News Group employee, was a passenger in one of the rear two cars of the train, and said she felt the train "jerk" at some point. There was no loss of power or heat, but it felt like the train had turned off, she told NBC News. Eisner said the conductor walked through the train to explain what had happened. Passengers were calm at first, but tension began to build when they learned the train had hit a car, she said.
About 10 to 15 minutes after the train "jerk," Eisner's train car was evacuated, with ladders used to get people out. People were taken either to a nearby rock-climbing gym called The Cliffs or allowed to walk to the Hawthorne Funeral Home. Ryan Cottrell, assistant director at The Cliffs, told NBC News that the passengers who were brought there appeared to be shaken up but generally OK. Staffers who saw the incident from the front door went to the scene to help bring passengers into the gym, where they were providing shelter and warmth until MTA buses arrive to transport commuters to Pleasantville, Cottrell said.
A few injured people were transported from the gym to the hospital, said Cottrell. A hospital clerk at Westchester Medical Center told NBC News they were expecting to receive numerous patients from the incident. The Taconic State Parkway, which runs parallel to the Metro-North tracks in the area, is closed in both directions in the town of Mount Pleasant as police, EMS and firefighters respond.
The Metro-North Harlem line is temporarily suspended. Buses are being set up to bridge Pleasantville and North White Plains, while normal train service remains between Grand Central and North White Plains, the MTA said. Shuttle train service is being set up between Pleasantville and Southeast.
Bron: NBC New York
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