On Wednesday, Jan. 4, a Long Island Rail Road train derailed at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn during the morning rush, injuring more than 100 people.
According to officials, 103 people were hurt when the train from Far Rockaway collided with the bumping block at the terminal’s track six around 8:30 a.m. The train reportedly went up and over the block, knocking the wheels off the first car and an axle off the rails.
“Obviously the train is supposed to stop short of the bumping block,” MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast, who days ago announced his intent to retire in the upcoming weeks, told NBC New York. “It did not do that.”
NBC New York reports that the train was coming in at a fairly low rate of speed – around 15 miles per hour, or so – at the time of the crash. Several riders complained of back and neck injuries following the accident. Some passengers were carried away on stretchers while others were sitting outside of the train holding ice packs on their heads. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the worst injury was a possible broken leg.
“This is a relatively minor accident,” Cuomo said. “Luckily… all things considered, this was a relatively minor accident.”
Victims were transported to Brooklyn Methodist and Kings County hospitals.
Mayor de Blasio could not appear at the crash site due to an NYPD crime statistics briefing. Approximately three hours following the crash, Blasio’s office tweeted, “Our thoughts are w/all aboard this morning’s LIRR derailment.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators were en route to the scene.
According to FDNY Deputy Assistant Daniel Donoghue, first responders were faced with a difficult task with 600 to 700 people packed on a derailed train.
“When we got here a lot of people had fallen because the train actually went through the final bumper and went through a small room in the area at the end of the track,” Donoghue told NBC New York. “A rail actually pierced the bottom of the train, it was fortunate we didn’t have more severe injuries.”
Atlantic Terminal, formerly known as the Flatbush Avenue station, is the westernmost stop on the Long Island Rail Road’s Atlantic Branch.
According to CNBC, the Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, carrying an average of 301,000 commuters each weekday. The train operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.
A passenger on the train described the accident to WNBC, claiming she heard a loud boom, then the train doors opened.
“I don’t know, all I remember is being on the floor,” she said.
Others posted their account of the accident on social media.
Four months before the derailment, an NJ Transit train crashed into the Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey, killing a woman on the platform and injuring 108 others.
According to a preliminary federal report on the Hoboken crash, the five-car train accelerated from 8 to 21 miles per hour as it approached the end of the track before the emergency brake was engaged in the final second.
Engineer Thomas Gallagher, who was later diagnosed with sleep apnea, told investigators he had no memory of the train speeding up.
Passenger Bhagyesh Shah told NBC New York that he boarded the train at Secaucus, New Jersey.
“The next thing I know, we are plowing through the platform,” Shah said. “It was for a couple seconds, but it felt like an eternity.”
Shah said that the first two cars of the train were especially crowded so passengers could be closer to the Hoboken station.
“I saw a woman pinned under concrete,” Shah continued. “A lot of people were bleeding; one guy was crying.”
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer posted his condolences on Twitter writing, “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. Thank you for the outpouring of support and to all the first responders on scene.”
[Feature Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]