A New Jersey transit train crashed into the Hoboken station Thursday morning, causing one death, more than 100 injuries and travel chaos for commuters making their way into Manhattan during rush hour.
The crash happened around 8:30am, and involved the No. 1614 Pascack Valley line train. The train left Spring Valley, New York at 7:23am and was scheduled to arrive in Hoboken at 8:38am, but was running late.
Passengers on the train said the it never slowed down as it approached the terminal, crashing at high speed into the terminal which tens of thousands of people use to travel into New York City every day.
A witness at the scene says the engineer was found slumped over at the wheel, though it’s still has not been confirmed whether he is among the fatalities.
One person has been confirmed dead but there are conflicting reports that up to two or three people died. More than 100 people have been injured – with multiple in critical condition. One of the fatalities appears to be a woman in her 30s who was standing on the platform when the train came barreling towards her.
Law enforcement sources told NBC New York that the crash did not appear to be deliberate or an act of terrorism, however the exact cause is still under investigation. It’s unclear how fast the train was going when it crashed into the terminal.
‘There are fatalities,’ a senior transportation official told the New York Times. ‘There are a significant number of injuries. The train was going very fast. There are structural concerns about the facility. ‘
The National Transportation Safety Board has sent investigators to the scene to investigate the cause of the crash. Investigators will be looking into whether the driver made an error or if there was perhaps a fault with the train.
William Blaine, another train engineer who witnessed the crash, told NBC New York that he was with authorities when they found the engineer slumped over in his chair. He says he believes the engineer was pronounced dead.
When asked what could have led the train to crash into the station at such speed, Blaine speculated that the engineer may have suffered a fatal heart attack, was sleeping or wasn’t paying attention.
There’s a bumper at the end of each track that stops trains from crashing into the station, but the train was going so fast that it pushed right past the bumper into the reception area where people wait for trains.
‘It came in at a high rate of speed, went through the bumper block, through the air, took the ceiling out. It was horrific. It was an explosion of concrete, dust, electrical wires,’ a NJ Transit worked said.
The CEO of Jersey City Medical Center said at a press conference that they had taken many of the injured. Three were in serious condition in the trauma unit, eight were being treated for less-serious injuries in the emergency rooms, and 40 ‘walking wounded’ were bused to the hospital and were being treated in the cafeteria for more minor injuries. All of the walking wounded are expected to be discharged today.
All trains service in and out of the station have been cancelled.
Alternate transportation into the city is available at other PATH stations, via the ferry and NJ Transit buses.
Both NJ Transit commuter trains and PATH trains to New York City run in and out of the building. About 28,335 people take the PATH train into New York City from Hoboken every day.
Hoboken is NJ Transit’s fifth busiest train station, with an estimated 15,000 riders a day.
The Office of Emergency Management in New York City is aiding New Jersey in the accident, sending 10 ambulances to the scene.