A train slammed into a busy Hoboken train station on Thursday leaving at least 100 people injured, some of them critically, and others trapped in the train.
Witnesses said that the train never slowed down as it crashed through barriers into the terminal’s reception area.
Hoboken has the highest percentage of transit ridership of any city in the country. The station, where an average of 60,000 people travel each weekday, is the final stop for several train lines and a transfer point for many commuters on their way to New York City.
There are reports that at least 3 people have died, though that number has been downgraded to two. Photos showed major structural damage, as the crash left twisted piles of metal and bricks and caused part of the highly trafficked terminal to collapse.
Here are five important preliminary facts:
1. The crash occurred at approximately 8:45 a.m. The NJT Pascack Valley Line train No. 1614 traveling from Spring Valley, New Jersey, crashed into the Hoboken Terminal. The train left Spring Valley, New York, at 7:23 a.m. Jennifer Nelson, a New Jersey Transit spokeswoman, said that about 250 passengers are usually on board the train around this time.
According to multiple law enforcement officials, the crash was accidental or caused by operator error, though they stress it is early in the investigation. Another sign that the crash was an accident as opposed to terrorism is that transportation officials — not law enforcement — took the lead on the response and investigation.
The engineer is reportedly identified as 48 year old Thomas Gallagher.
— FDNY (@FDNY) September 29, 2016
2. Pictures on social media show major structural damage to the train station, with at least one of the train cars appearing to be inside the building with some of the supporting beams that hold up the canopy where the trains come in caved in around it.
Hoboken Terminal train accident pic.twitter.com/haGOJ4CHd7
— David Richman (@daverichman) September 29, 2016
It appeared the train went through a bumper stop at the end of the track. It appears to have come to a stop in a covered area between the station’s indoor waiting area and the platform.
— Leon O (@monduras) September 29, 2016
There was major damage to the roof of the station, with some reports that it had collapsed.
The roof of the station just straight up collapsed pic.twitter.com/IpaY86dk8i
— KFC (@KFCBarstool) September 29, 2016
3. According to accounts of multiple witnesses, the train did not slow down. “I noticed he’s not slowing up, we’re going too fast, and with that there was this tremendous crash,” according to Linda Albelli who spoke to ABC News. She was seated in one of the rear cars.
“The next thing I know, we are plowing through the platform. It was for a couple of seconds, but it felt like an eternity,” passenger Bhagyesh Shaw told NBC New York.
Similarly, another passenter, Nancy Bido told WNBC in New York that the train did not slow down as it approached the station. “It just never stopped. It was going really fast and the terminal was basically the brake for the train.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 29, 2016
4. While the train is crowded, especially in the early morning hours, an unfortunate fact for this incident is that passengers typically crowd into the first two cars because they make for an easy exit into the Hoboken station and onto the PATH train. Passengers in the second car were only able to exit that train through the emergency windows.
Additionally, this was a shorter train, which means that it was more packed.
The train’s engineer, or driver, was critically injured and taken to the hospital. He is said to be fully cooperating. So far, officials ‘have no indication’ that the crash was ‘anything other than a tragic accident.’
5. According to multiple sources, including Reuters, at least 100 people were injured, and multiple people were trapped in the wreckage. There were initial reports that three people were dead. That number was later downgraded to one. The fatality was a woman who was struck by flying debris as she stood on a platform. The woman was reportedly in her 30’s.
Additionally, another 70 people were hospitalized with various injuries.
UPDATE: More than 100 people injured and multiple passengers trapped in Hoboken, New Jersey, train crash – ABC News, citing officials
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) September 29, 2016
Others also reported from the scene adding some reports of the fatalities.
HOBOKEN U/D: 1 DOA reported. Entrapments reported on the scene. Approximately 100 injuries.
— N. Jerzy Fire Alert (@NJerzyFireAlert) September 29, 2016
— Corey Futterman (@coreyfuttdesign) September 29, 2016
According to passenger Shah, “I saw a woman pinned under concrete. A log of people were bleeding; one guy was crying.” Ms. Albelli said “There was just so much, a lot of people in need of attention.”