4 Dead, 70 Hurt After Metro-North Train Derails In The Bronx
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday evening was combing over the scene in the Bronx where four people were killed, and 70 were injured, when a Metro-North commuter train derailed.
The southbound Train No. 8808, which was carrying 100 to 150 people, left Poughkeepsie at 5:54 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive at Grand Central Terminal at 7:43 a.m.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the passenger train from Poughkeepsie left the tracks with a sudden, violent shudder and roll along the curve at Spuyten Duyvil, where the speed limit drops from 70 mph down to 30.
All of the train’s seven cars and its locomotive came off the curved track about 100 feet north of the nearby Spuyten Duyvil station around 7:20 a.m. Sunday, officials said. One car came to rest feet from the Harlem River.
“The train’s pretty beat up,” said FDNY Chief Edward Kilduff. “The train flipped to some degree. Some of them righted themselves after they flipped, but there was substantial damage inside. There was a lot of personal belongings thrown around and all.”
Three of the dead were found outside the train, and one was found inside, authorities said.
The deceased victims were identified Sunday night as Donna L. Smith, 54, of Newburgh; James G. Lovell, 58, of Cold Spring; James M. Ferrari, 59, of Montrose; and Kisook Ahn, 35, of Queens.
Lovell was a cancer and heart disease survivor who worked contract jobs in the city as a sound and light technician. He also had worked as an audio technician for NBC programs, including the “Today” show, for over 20 years.
“He was not only a skilled technician but also one of the nicest guys you ever met. You may have seen him working at many of our outdoor concerts. He always had a smile on his face and was quick to share a friendly greeting,” wrote “Today” executive producer Don Nash in a statement.
Longtime friend Janet Barton said Lovell was taking the Metro-North from Cold Spring to into the city Sunday to do lighting and sound work on the giant tree. She called him beloved and said he also enjoyed wind surfing and playing guitar.
State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Brewster) said Lovell was a caring member of his community and a family man. Lovell was the husband of Philipstown Councilwoman Nancy Montgomery.
Lovell is also survived by three sons – Hudson, Jack and Finn – and a daughter, Brooke, Nash said.
Son Finn Lovell, 17, posted an Instagram message about his father.
“Words can’t express how much my father meant to me. It’s safe to say he molded me into the man I am today. I love you and I miss you. I can’t believe you’re gone. This feels like an awful nightmare that I can’t wake up from. Rest easy dad. I love you,” he wrote.
In Newburgh, Kathy Cerone met CBS 2’s Dave Carlin outside the new-empty home of her longtime neighbor and friend Donna Smith.
“You get in a train and think it’s safe,” Cerone said.
Smith, who lived in her home alone, was a paralegal at a nearby law firm and was active with the Girl Scouts of America.
The neighbor said she recalls Smith had plans to see a holiday show in the city, getting an early start with at least one traveling companion, likely her sister.
There was concern in the Newburgh neighborhood for Smith’s sister, who was believed to have been on the train with her. Her sister’s car remained on the block.
“I hope she’s OK. It’s going to be tragic for her sister, though, because they were so close. They lost their mother a couple of years ago. Their father passed away also. So all they had was each other,” Cerone said.
At Ferrari’s Montrose home, a sign on the front door requested privacy. Neighbors said he was survived by a wife and daughter.
Ahn lived in Woodside, Queens, and according to her Facebook page, she was a nurse at Kings County Hospital.
11 Victims Critically Injured After Accident
Police told 1010 WINS a total of 70 people were injured.
Eleven people were reported in critical condition after the accident, authorities said. The train operator was among the dozens injured, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The FDNY said 130 firefighters responded to the scene.
Passengers were taken off the derailed train, with dozens of them bloodied and scratched, holding ice packs to their heads.
On Sunday night, the train engineer remained in the hospital, as did a female assistant conductor who was hospital with a broken collar bone and head an eye injuries. A conductor who was in a rear car was released after being treated for a head injury, a source close to the investigation told CBS 2.
The engineer has been with Metro-North for close to 20 years and has spent the last 10 or 11 as an engineer. Per protocol, a blood sample was taken from the engineer to test for drugs and alcohol.
People who know the engineer, who lives near Poughkeepsie, have described him as “well respected”, “well liked”, and “a good man.”
CBS 2 has learned the train’s female assistant conductor also remained hospitalized as of late Sunday night. She suffered a broken collar bone, and head and eye injuries.
Five of the injured people were off-duty NYPD officers. Three were treated at area hospitals, while two refused treatment at the scene, 1010 WINS reported.
Some of the injuries suffered by passengers on the train were profoundly severe.
“The bone has fractured through and is actually piercing through the skin,” one medical professional said.
But many of the injured victims were fortunate enough to have been released by Sunday night.
NewYork Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center spokesman Brian Dotson said the medical facility had received 18 patients in total – 14 at the main hospital in Washington Heights and four more at the Allen Pavilion location in the Bronx.
By Sunday night, seven patients at Columbia Presbyterian had been released, while seven more have been admitted for further treatment. Two of those even patients remained in critical condition.
All of the patients at the Allen Pavilion had been released as of Sunday night, the MTA said.
Jacobi Medical Center received 13 patients, none of whom were critically injured and some of whom already have been discharged.
St. Barnabas Hospital reported receiving 12 injured patients – two of them in critical condition. Montefiore Medical Center reported very few patients, all with minor injuries.
PHOTOS: Metro-North Train Derailment