An Amtrak train left New York City on Sunday, bound for Savannah, GA. Unfortunately, the passengers aboard the train never made it to their destination as the train collided with a backhoe south of Philadelphia killing two people, neither of which were passengers according to NBC Washington.
Two killed, dozens left injured after Northeast corridor Amtrak train derails following crash near Philadelphia https://t.co/uNd3hfxZt5
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 3, 2016
At a press conference, Amtrak officials said that there were 35 passengers aboard the train that left New York City being treated for injuries, but that none were considered life-threatening. The two people killed by the train that departed New York City were the backhoe operator and a supervisor who both worked for Amtrak.
There were seven crew members and 341 passengers traveling from New York City to Savannah aboard the Amtrak train when it collided with a backhoe that was sitting on the tracks. NTSB officials were en route Sunday afternoon to help with the investigation, along with the Federal Railroad Administration who had already arrived on scene.
Ari Ne’eman is a disability rights activist who spoke at an event in New York City and was traveling back to Washington D.C. on Sunday morning. He was riding in the second car when the crash happened.
“The car started shaking wildly, there was a smell of smoke, it looked like there was a small fire and then the window across from us blew out,” said Ne’eman, 28, of Silver Spring, Maryland.
Once the New York City departing train came to a stop, some passengers immediately attempted to exit, but were stopped by the conductor. Officials ended up evacuating through the back of the train and sending the passengers from New York City to a local church.
“It was a very frightening experience. I’m frankly very glad that I was not on the first car,” where there were injuries, Ne’eman said. “The moment that the car stopped, I said Shema, a Jewish prayer. I was just so thankful that the train had come to a stop and we were OK.”
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 3, 2016
The collision destroyed the train’s engine, shattered its windshield, and forced a number of passengers from their seats on impact. It’s unclear why the backhoe was on the tracks on Sunday Morning. Cpl. Steven Byrne of the Chester Police Department was still trying to gain an understanding of what exactly happened to cause such a preventable accident.
“We’re trying to make way through this mess,” he said.
Several witnesses reported seeing flames from the impact of the Amtrak train that departed New York City and the backhoe on the live track.
“The direct impact was big,” said one of the passengers leaving New York City, Adriene Hobdy, in a telephone interview. “It was terrible, absolutely terrible.”
“All you felt was boom, boom, boom boom. Our windows flew out. People were trying to get on the floor, trying to walk.”
The 33-year-old Hobdy was given ibuprofen by paramedics for injuries to her knees. She said although she didn’t notice any serious injuries on her way on the train, it did seem that there were people with back pain and numerous cuts. Hobdy did say that panic and confusion set in immediately among the passengers departing New York City.
“People started saying, ‘Get up and walk toward the back, leave your luggage, get up and walk toward the back.’ So we did,” she said.
An Amtrak spokesman named Stephen Gardner said that operations between New York City and Philadelphia remain open, but Amtrak travel between Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE had to be shut down.
[Photo by Glenn R. Hills Jr./AP Images]