Investigations are underway following a horrific train crash that claimed the lives of six and injured fifteen others at the Valhalla Commerce Street crossing last night. Officials say the rail accident was the deadliest crash to date for the Metro North commuter train, which has been under heavy scrutiny since the Hudson line derailment of 2013.
NY officials said the packed commuter train was heading north through Westchester County when it plowed into an SUV that was stranded in the middle of the tracks. The impact pushed the Jeep some 400 feet down the tracks and set off a massive explosion that caused panic and mayhem as passengers were torn from their seats.
Early this morning, a crew from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived to begin putting the pieces together. “We’ve got several busy days ahead of us…We intend to find out not only what happened but why,” NTSB member Robert Sumwalt told reporters in a briefing.
The attorneys of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye aided victims of the Metro North train derailment in 2013, and are prepared to assist those unfortunate enough to have been involved in this deadly railroad crash. Our New York train accident lawyers are standing by and offer free legal consultations during this uncertain and traumatic time.
Investigations start in New York railroad accident
According to Westchester County officials, the five confirmed dead were all male passengers on the train. The medical examiner has yet to identify the victims, as “all but one of the bodies was charred beyond recognition.”
Those who did survive the harrowing incident suffered second and third-degree burns, lacerations, smoke inhalation, bone fractures and crush injuries. One witness recounted to Good Morning America the gruesome site of a fellow passenger in the front car whose leg was severed below the knee. Amid the smoke and flames, another passenger with severely burned hands was able to open an emergency latch, allowing dozens to escape.
General Chairman of a Metro-North union, Anthony Bottalico, says the train operator applied the emergency brakes the moment he saw the SUV stuck on the tracks. The Metro North rail operator, according to Bottalico, did all that he could to help passengers get off the burning wreckage before rendered powerless from smoke inhalation. He was one of the many injured rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The on-site NTSB investigation is expected to last five to seven days, though a full inquiry could take upwards of a year. For now, industry experts will examine recordings of rail traffic signals, crossing arms and highway signals, to help determine if safety protocols were executed correctly.
New York railroad accident attorneys
The law firm of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye extends our condolences to those who were harmed or lost a loved one in this unprecedented Metro North railroad accident. If you or a loved one were among the many affected by this tragedy, we invite you to contact our offices for a free personal injury case review.
Advocating for New Yorkers since 1952, our team is well-versed in public transit accidents arising from human error and mechanical issues and can help you recover for your injuries and losses. Call 1-800-469-7429.