HOBOKEN, N.J. — A New Jersey Transit train plowed through a major station in Hoboken during Thursday morning’s rush-hour commute, killing at least one person and injuring more than 100 others, some seriously, local officials said.
(Editor’s note: A previous version of this story reported three fatalities from the train crash.)
Images posted on social media showed severe structural damage at the terminal — one of the busiest transit hubs in the New York metropolitan area — and part of the roof appeared to have collapsed.
A passenger, Leon Offengenden, said he was in one of the sections behind the lead car when the crash happened.
“The front car is essentially off the rails … into the building of the station, with the roof sort of collapsed around it,” he said.
The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the cause of the crash.
‘I guess it didn’t slow down’
“The lights went out and a few people screamed (when the crash happened),” Offengenden said.
“I was sitting but I couldn’t see the window. I didn’t notice that the train was going at an accelerated pace. It was just going.
“Now, looking back, I guess it didn’t slow down. It definitely didn’t slow down. There was no brakes. All of a sudden, it just crashed. Something happened obviously. … It’s the same feeling as when you get in a car crash.”
Once outside the train, “a man walked past me holding his arm. I saw some blood.”
The extent of the injuries wasn’t immediately known, an emergency responder monitoring the situation said. An urban search-and-rescue team has been deployed and will assist in shoring up the structure and helping to remove people from the train, the source said.
Video from the scene showed NJ transit personnel and first-responders peering into the windows of the mangled train.
‘It kept going and going’
Another passenger, Bhagyesh Shah, said he was riding in the back of the front passenger car on his way to work. Like Offengenden, he said the train didn’t slow as it approached the station.
“The next thing I know, I’m on the floor. We are plowing through something … and when the train came to a stop, I could see the parts of the roof on the first car and some of the debris next to me,” Shah said.
People were thrown around, he said.
“I was hoping the train would stop now but it just didn’t stop. It kept going and going. At the end of it, it felt like eternity.”
He also saw people injured.
“There was a woman … she was pinned under … debris next to the first car. There were seven to eight people that tried to pick that (debris) up.”
“I saw an old man, too, who had head injuries, trying to get out of the first car.”
Rail service suspended
Rail service has been suspended in and out of Hoboken as a result of the crash, which happened on a cool day with overcast skies. The hub primarily
serves the lower Manhattan commuter market.
CNN producer Paul Murphy described a chaotic scene, with the arrival of first-responders from various New Jersey agencies, sirens blaring and nearby streets cordoned off.
“The main sound you hear now are sirens — sirens everywhere.”
“There’s only one option for people who don’t have a car to get out of Hoboken right now, and that’s the bus,” Murphy said. “The bus lines are very, very long and many people are on the phones with work, saying, ‘I’m not coming into work today or I’m going to work from home.'”