At least 7 die in US transit wreck
NEW YORK — A northbound Metro-North Railroad train ferrying commuters from New York City struck a car during evening rush hour Tuesday in New York’s Westchester County, leaving several dead.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers and police investigate a Metro-North train crash on Feb 3 in Valhalla, New York. A Metro-North commutor train carrying hundreds of passengers struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing killing at least seven people and injuring many more. (AFP photo)
At least seven people died and 10 were hurt, according to a tweet from Rob Astorino, Westchester County's executive, at about 10 p.m. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a state agency that runs the line, said only that fatalities were "numerous."
Among them were passengers from the train and the female driver of a black Jeep Cherokee who was outside the vehicle. The vehicle was stopped on the tracks at Commerce Street in Valhalla, about 45 kilometres north of midtown Manhattan, according to an e-mailed statement from Aaron Donovan, an MTA spokesman.
Photos of the scene showed flames and smoke billowing from at least one car.
The accident came 14 months after a fatal Metro-North accident in the Bronx, and presented a major obstruction on a transit artery for thousands of workers.
The accident occurred at 6.30pm on a commuter train scheduled to leave New York's Grand Central Station at 5.44pm, according to Donovan. The gates came down on the Jeep, which was shoved about 10 car lengths by the train, Mr Donovan said.
Passengers evacuated through the back of the train, and some were taken to a rock-climbing gym for shelter, Mr Donovan said. By 10.50pm, passengers had left the gym, which was about to close its doors for the night, Mike McGuinn, an employee, said in a telephone interview.
The US National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to investigate the accident, the agency said in a statement. Investigators from the US Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration also are headed to the crash scene, senator Chuck Schumer of New York tweeted.
The MTA is the largest US mass-transit system. It serves an average 8.6 million riders per weekday on the New York City subways and buses as well as Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road.