Commuter Train Crash Injures More Than 100 In Hoboken, N.J.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
The usual bustle of this morning's commute was violently interrupted at Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey today. A commuter train pulled into the station at high speed, ran off the tracks, crashed through a barrier and into a platform where people were waiting. The roof over that platform came down. At least one person was killed, and more than a hundred were injured. Investigators are now trying to figure out what happened.
We're joined by Stephen Nessen of member station WNYC. He's at the Hoboken Terminal which is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Hello, Stephen.
STEPHEN NESSEN, BYLINE: Hello, Robert.
SIEGEL: And can you tell us first more about what happened this morning and what it looks like there now?
NESSEN: Well, this train originated in Spring Valley, N.Y., and it was heading into Hoboken station, like you said, at high speeds. We don't quite know how fast it was going, but it was certainly fast enough that it hit the barrier and didn't stop until it hit the wall to the waiting room.
This area of the train station is known as sort of an open concourse. There's a flower cart, coffee cart, a newspaper stand, and presumably there were hundreds of people waiting to get on that train in the morning. The station itself is over a hundred years old. It's got sort of a green, copper patina like the Statue of Liberty. Right now crews in green jackets, NJ Transit workers are heading in and out of the station, working on the tracks.
SIEGEL: Now, Stephen, you spoke to people who were in the terminal and also on the train when all this happened. What did you hear?
NESSEN: Well, one of the folks I met was Edward Taylor. He was coming out of the station with about a dozen or so other people who are in various states of shock. Many were splattered with blood. They were hobbling. Most of them couldn't talk.
EDWARD TAYLOR: I was on the third car in, and it just knocked me to the ground and felt like - I thought it was a bomb at first.
NESSEN: And then I met another woman, Jamie Weatherhead-Saul. She was outside the terminal sort of in a daze but talking to reporters, wanting to share her experience today.
JAMIE WEATHERHEAD-SAUL: The lights went out, and we just felt not - it was more than a jolt. Like, everyone was thrown. I didn't fall. Fortunately there were people in front of me that had, like, toppled over one another, and they were badly injured.
And then we just heard people screaming in the first car that they were trapped. They couldn't get out. And they managed to get us off, and once we got off, we saw that entire structure had collapsed into the front of the train car.
NESSEN: It was quite a scene here. Most of the people are gone now. They've been rerouted to hospitals or back with their family.
SIEGEL: Has anyone offered an explanation yet as to how this happened or why this happened?
NESSEN: No governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Governor Cuomo of New York went to great lengths today to say, you know, this is very much still under investigation. They don't know what happened. But New York, New Jersey, the NTSB, the National Railroad Association are all looking into it.
In fact Governor Christie even said, we've never had a more coordinated approach. He says all the agencies are working together much like they did during Hurricane Sandy, Irene and the various terrorist attacks in this region.
SIEGEL: That's Stephen Nessen, reporter from member station WNYC outside Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey. Stephen, thank you.
NESSEN: Thank you.
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