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Metro-North Train Passengers On Derailment: ‘This Can’t Be Happening’

Riders Tell Of Horror As Cars Jump Track

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Passengers aboard the Metro-North train that derailed Sunday morning in the Bronx watched in horror as passengers were tossed out windows and fellow riders died before their eyes as cars tumbled onto their sides.

As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, passengers on the train hours later were reliving the moment when normalcy vanished and a routine ride became a struggle to survive.

“I thought I was going to die, to be honest,” said Arbee Guivesus. “I thought, I’m going to die.”

“I broke my arm; it’s really painful,” said Janiza Corpus.

Guivesus was afraid the train might plunge into the Harlem River.

“Because we were near the water, so I thought if it falls down, we have no control,” he said. “We’re just praying.”

Riding in the third car Sunday, Steven Ciccone said he noticed nothing unusual prior to the crash.

“A day like any other day; It started to make a loud shifting noise, like with the tracks and the next thing I know two people from the other side of the train come flying over and fell on top of me,” Ciccone said. “I couldn’t believe we were flipping over.”

Like a grim lottery, seat selection suddenly became a matter of life and death.

“Because I was on that wall, I didn’t go through the windows when the windows blew out, so that was able to sustain me and some of the injured,” Ciccone said. “It was just complete chaos.”

The train from Poughkeepsie left the tracks with a sudden, violent shudder and roll along the curve at Spuyten Duyvil. Seven passenger cars were being pushed by a locomotive, and the lead cars ended up in a grassy swamp at the water’s edge while the locomotive was even on its side.

“I got thrown across back and forth and it came to, like, a halt, and there was just screaming,” said passenger Ryan Kelly.

Alex Marquez said he was asleep as the train approached the curved section of track near the Spuyten Duyvil station, and the next thing he knew, the car he was riding in was sliding on its side.

“People were hanging out of the windows as we were sliding,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.

Marquez was in fear for his life.

“I thought I was going to die,” he said. “It was a loud crash and everything. I didn’t think we were going to survive. I really didn’t.

“A person flew up above me when it went to the side.”

PHOTOS: Metro-North Train Derailment

Some passengers said it felt like the train began going faster as it neared the curve. They added that they could hear and feel the other cars flipping over as the train knocked over trees before coming to a rest.

“As the train was going over on its side, I was thinking, this isn’t real,” one woman said. “This can’t be happening to us.”

Joel Zaritsky told The Associated Press he was on his way to New York City for a dental convention.

“I was asleep, and I woke up when the car started rolling several times,” he said, holding his blood right hand. “Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming. There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train.”

At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Lisa Delgado said her cousin, Sharelle Coore, was being treated for a concussion.

“She said she felt like the train was going really fast, but we take Metro-North all the time, so she’s used to the train going fast,” Delgado told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “And she said she felt a jerk.

“She just felt herself being flung. She saw the woman in front of her go through the window.”

Coore is a nursing student, and her cousin told CBS 2 her survival instinct kicked in.

“She hit the side of her face on the glass and it shattered, and then it started to roll and she started to grab onto the railings and she wrapped herself like a monkey around it when it was rolling, and then it stopped rolling,” Coore’s cousin said.

William Herbert, who worked in the maintenance department at Metro-North for 25 years, said his wife was the assistant conductor on the train and was injured. He blamed the commuter railroad service. This was the third Metro-North derailment in 2013.

“When I worked there — and I’m sure it’s the same thing (now) — it’s like save money and safety second,” he said. “They always say safety first, and that’s not the case.”

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)