NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Survivors of the deadly Metro-North train derailment say they feel lucky to have gotten out alive.
One of those survivors described the horror– and the severity of the accident — and told CBS 2’s Mary Calvi what he had to do to get to safety.
“You could hear people screaming and crying,” Dennis O’Neill told Calvi. “Took me a second to gather fact that I was OK and I was alive frankly.”
O’Neill was on the train heading to New York City on Sunday. Less than 20 minutes after boarding, the train derailed traveling at a speed of more than 80 miles per hour.
“We cut the turn and flopped over hard,” O’Neill said. “And as we were sliding down. A lot of the windows are blowing out, a lot of dirt was blowing through. At that time there was nothing to do but cover up. You had time to think, and I was just waiting for the worst to happen. Scariest moments of my life.”
Just after the train hurtled off the tracks, O’Neill tried to help an injured passenger.
“She couldn’t get up. We got her to sit up and she was bleeding pretty badly,” O’Neill said.
The front of the train car door was jammed shut so he made his way out the back where firefighters helped him climb to safety.
Then he called his wife Maureen. The O’Neill’s have three children and had just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving.
“I had some weak moments since yesterday, O’Neill said. “Yesterday when I got in the car with my son…I was just happy to see him and we hugged. I’m just feeling pretty lucky.”
Nearly half of the passengers on board were injured. O’Neill walked away with barely a scratch.
O’Neill used to commute on this line every day, but had all but stopped taking the train until his trip on Sunday.
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