Four Dead, Over 60 Injured in Metro-North Derailment
UPDATE (6:35 p.m.): Westchester County has confirmed a Montrose man is among those who lost their lives in the train derailment Sunday morning. Two others are from Newburgh and and Queens, said Ned McCormack, communications director for County Executive Rob Astorino.
The families have not yet been notified, so their names have not been released.
Metro-North will add trains on the Harlem Line for the Monday morning commute. To further facilitate commuters, Westchester County is opening the 160 parking spots at Kensico Dam to commuters, who can then walk to the Valhalla train station. Astorino will be at the train station at 7 a.m. Monday, McCormack said. He added that the county can essentially double the number of spaces to accommodate more cars if necessary.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – A southbound passenger train on the Hudson Line derailed Sunday morning, and at least three cars flipped over, leaving four dead and 67 injured, 14 of them critically, the New York Fire Department said.
The injured were taken to Jacobi, Montefiore, Lincoln, New York-Presbyterian and St. Barnabas hospitals.
Dr. Ernest Patti of St. Barnabas Hospital said several patients had internal injuries and broken and fractured bones, some requiring surgery. With no air bags or seat belts, he said, commuters can get thrown around and could impact seats or get hit by flying debris. Patti said the hospital called in all its personnel and was running smoothly.
The seven-car train left Poughkeepsie at 5:54 a.m. and was due at Grand Central Terminal at 7:43 a.m. About 7:30 a.m. the front five cars derailed on a curved section of track about 100 feet from the Spuyten Duyvil Station. That area has three tracks, which run along the Hudson and Harlem rivers. The train was on the middle track, and none of the cars fell into the water, said Marjorie Anders, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and MTA President Tom Prendergast surveyed the site Sunday. The governor said no cause had been determined yet and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive about 12:30 p.m.
“In terms of causes, we don’t know exactly what happened, but the NTSB is on its way,” he said. “They’ll do a thorough investigation, and we’ll wait to see what the NTSB says before speculating on any causes.”
Reports that a passenger was ejected into the Harlem River were unfounded, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday morning. A helicopter and dive team conducted a search.
An estimated 100 passengers were on the train, but Kelly said the exact number was unknown because of the various types of tickets that are used. Police said some people probably would go to hospitals on their own to seek treatment.
“We are sending our ERVs (emergency response vehicles) to the scene filled with blankets, water, coffee to support first responders and those impacted,” said Abigail Adams, communications officer of the American Red Cross of Westchester. “We are mobilizing our volunteers, including mental health, and are on standby.”
Hudson Line service was suspended from Grand Central to Tarrytown. Bus service was being provided between the Tarrytown and White Plains stations to allow Hudson Line riders to take the Harlem Line in or out of Grand Central.
Travelers at stations between Irvington and the Yankees-East 153rd Street Station were urged to use the Harlem Line, the subway or bus service. Hudson Line tickets will be honored.
In Putnam, a special bus shuttle from both the Garrison and Cold Spring stations will take Hudson Line commuters to the Southeast Station on the Harlem Line beginning at 5 a.m. Monday. A return shuttle from the Southeast Station to both the Garrison and Cold Spring stations will begin running at 6 a.m. Monday.
Following is the bus shuttle schedule beginning Monday:
Cold Spring to Southeast Station
5 a.m., 5:15, 6, 6:15, 6:30, 7:15 a.m.
Garrison to Southeast Station
5 a.m., 6:30, 8 a.m.
Southeast to Cold Spring and Garrison stations
6 p.m., 6:30, 7:15 p.m.
The MTA said updates would continue to be posted on the Metro-North Railroad portion of its website.
The motorman reported the derailment. Four MTA employees were working on the train, three conductors and the motorman. All have been accounted for. The motorman was in stable condition at a hospital.
Amtrak’s Empire Line is also suspended between New York City and Albany. One train, No. 63, returned to Pennsylvania Station and another, No. 250, was held at Croton-Harmon.
“It’s obviously a very tragic situation,” Cuomo said. “The first order of business is to care for the people who were on the train. As you heard, unfortunately there are four fatalities, 63 injures, and those people are being cared for right now.”
From outside New York City, call 212-NEW-YORK (212 639-9675) to report anyone missing after the derailment. From within the city, call 311.
JFK High School at 99 Terrace View Ave. in the Bronx was established as a family center, and 718-817-7444 is the contact number for those seeking the status of family members who may have been aboard the train.
In July, Hudson Line service was disrupted when a freight train derailed between the Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale stations.