A commuter train plowed into a station in New Jersey on Thursday’s morning, killing a woman on the platform and injuring more than 100 people as it brought down part of the roof and scattered debris over the concourse.
Witnesses described terrifying scenes as the front of the train smashed through the track stop at high speed and into the Hoboken terminal, toppling support columns and creating chaos at one of the busiest transit hubs in the New York City area.
“We have no indication that this is anything other than a tragic accident but … we’re going to let the law enforcement professionals pursue the facts,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said.
Train #1614 originated in the town of Spring Valley in New York state and was at the end of its hour-long journey when it crashed.
The train’s engineer, or driver, was injured and taken to a hospital but later released, officials said, without providing details of his injuries.
Local media identified the engineer as Thomas Gallagher, citing unnamed sources, and said he was cooperating with investigators.
The train was on track five when it hit the Hoboken terminal building at about 08:45 a.m. EDT (1245 GMT).
The New Jersey medical examiner’s office identified the victim as Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, of Hoboken. The woman was a former employee in the Brazilian legal department of SAP, the technology company said in a statement.
New Jersey Transit ranked second for the most train accident reports nationwide for commuter railroads from January 2007 through June 2016, behind Amtrak.
New Jersey Transit had 271 accidents, or 18 per cent of the total, compared to Amtrak’s 44 per cent, according to data from the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis.
As investigators searched for clues to the cause of the accident, some said it could and should have been prevented.