A Brooklyn train crash has injured 103 people, after a Long Island Rail Road train derailed on January 4, 2017, during the morning commute. Although most injuries were considered minor, some passengers reportedly suffered back and neck injuries during the train accident when they were hurled onto the floor. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said it will investigate the Brooklyn train crash and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) was also on its way to the scene. The train operator, conductor, and brakeman will all be interviewed in an attempt to determine what caused the train crash.
Morning Commute Derailed by Long Island Rail Road Derailment
The train wreck happened around 8:15 a.m. during a busy time of the morning commute. According to reports, the six-car train, which was carrying around 450 people, entered the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn but failed to stop before the bumping block at track 6. The train went over the block, shattering glass and throwing debris into the terminal.
“Obviously the train is supposed to stop short of the bumping block,” MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said. “It did not do that.”
Due to the fact the train was entering a station and preparing to stop, it was most likely traveling at a low speed—officials put the speed limit when approaching the terminal at 5 miles per hour. However, because the train was entering a station, many passengers who were preparing to get off the train were standing when the Brooklyn train crash occurred.
Reports indicate 103 people were injured, with some passengers suffering fractures and lost teeth. Governor Cuomo said the worst injury appeared to be a broken leg. Although the injuries were relatively minor, officials say there was substantial damage to the train, including a rail piercing the train’s floor. A room for employees that were at the end of the track was also destroyed in the train accident.
“We just heard this loud boom, and people were thrown,” passenger Aaron Neufeld told NBC New York. “You’re shocked, nobody knows what’s going on.”
“People just went flying,” Donette Smith told The New York Times. “Bodies were everywhere. It was very scary.” Meanwhile, Steben Medina, who was in the terminal at the time of the crash, said he thought a bomb had gone off because the building began shaking.
Some passengers were taken away on stretchers while others sat outside the terminal with ice packs to treat their injuries.
“I was getting up from my seat and there was a loud impact and I flew forward and then flew backward,” a passenger named Amada told CBS2. “It was total chaos, there was smoke on the train and you know, we were just sitting there in shock.”
Although the morning commute was complicated by the Brooklyn train crash, by 11:36 a.m., Long Island Rail Road said that service into and out of Atlantic Terminal was almost back to normal. The crash was not expected to affect the evening commute.
Cause of Brooklyn Train Crash Unclear
At this point, officials are at the start of an investigation into the train derailment. It is the job of the train operator to ensure the train stops properly inside the station; there are no technological enhancements to prevent an accident like this one, except for a signal system that controls limited speeds on entering a terminal. The operator has been interviewed and officials will attempt to determine why the train did not stop before hitting the bumper block. The investigation will try to determine whether the accident was caused by human error, mechanical error, or a combination of both.
According to The New York Times, Atlantic Terminal is the main terminal in Brooklyn, serving as a transfer point for nine subway lines. Meanwhile, around 300,000 riders use Long Island Rail Road daily to commute from Long Island to New York City.
Brooklyn Train Crash Brings Up Memories of New Jersey Crash
The Brooklyn train crash has brought up memories of the New Jersey train crash that occurred in Hoboken in September 2016. In that case, a New Jersey Transit commuter train drove off the end of a track. One woman, who was in the station at the time, was killed in the accident. Investigators are still looking into that incident, although speed may have been a factor. According to reports, the train was traveling at double the 10 miles-per-hour speed limit.
The train’s engineer reportedly had undiagnosed sleep apnea, which may have been a factor in the train crash. Thomas Gallagher, the engineer, has told officials he has no memory of the crash after checking his speed at 10 miles per hour as the train approached the station. He then remembers waking up on the floor. Gallagher was diagnosed with sleep apnea about a month after the accident.