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Train derails in New York; 4 deaths reported

2:16 PM, Dec 1, 2013   |    comments
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Officials are confirming at least 4 dead and 63 injured after five cars derailed on a train at 7:20 a.m. in the Spuyten Duyvil section of the Bronx.

It happened at Palisades Avenue and Independence Avenue. The train, with at least 100 passengers aboard, was the 5:54 a.m. out of Poughkeepsie due to arrive at Grand Central Station at 7:43 a.m.

Five of seven cars went off the tracks and two flipped onto their side, coming dangerously close to the Harlem River.

Three of the four people who were killed were in the second and third cars, and were ejected when the train derailed, according to the FDNY.

A team of National Transportation Safety Board investigators are heading to the scene. "We will be looking at the track, the signals, mechanical operations, human performance, things like survival factors, and any recording devices that might help our investigators understand what happened," said NTSB Chairwoman Debbie Hersman.

Authorities say 11 of the injured are listed in critical condition. The injured have been taken to multiple hospitals.

Firefighters, rescue workers and ambulances responded to the scene, and some firefighters broke through windows to remove passengers from the train.

A passenger who was on the train, Frank Tatulli, told Eyewitness News he takes the train every Sunday morning, and that it was travelling a lot faster than it usually does.

Joel Zaritsky told The Associated Press he was on his way to New York City for a dental convention.

"I was asleep and I woke up when the car started rolling several times. Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming. There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train," he said, holding his bloody right hand.

Passengers were taken off the derailed train, with dozens of them bloodied and scratched, holding ice packs to their heads.

People living in nearby apartments heard the sound of the accident. "I was getting ready for church and heard a loud boom boom boom, and I looked out the window and I saw the train had gone off the tracks," said resident Jodie Colon.

The train came off the tracks just as it was coming around a sharp curve. MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the curve where the derailment occurred is in a slow speed area approaching the Spuyten Duyvil station.

The black box should be able to tell how fast the train was traveling, Anders said.

Amtrak Empire Line Service is currently being held between New York City and Albany due to the derailment.

The accident occurred on property owned and maintained by Metro-North Railroad, but the Empire Line Service uses those tracks. No estimate for restoration of Empire Line service is available from Metro-North at this time.

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor service between Boston and Washington is not affected.

State officials tell ABC News there are no indications of criminal conduct or terrorism in connection with the derailment.

Authorities say the conductor of the train was among the injured, and has been talking to investigators.

JFK High School at 99 Terrace View Avenue in the Bronx has been established as the center for family members of those who may have been aboard the train.

People can also call 311 in New York City for information or "212-New-York" (212-639-9675). If using a TTY or Text Telephone, call 212-504-4115.


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