HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Witnesses described a chaotic and bloody scene after a NJ TRANSIT train plowed into Hoboken Terminal during the Thursday morning rush hour, leaving at least one person dead and more than 100 others injured.
Crying and screaming filled the station after the crowded train from Spring Valley, New Jersey came barreling into the station during the height of the morning rush hour, leaving mangled metal, wires, concrete and other debris scattered all over the floor. Part of the ceiling also collapsed.READ MORE: Harlem Subway Push Victim Randall Weaver Describes Scary Ordeal, 'There's A Lot Of Loonies Out Here Now'
A 34-year-old woman who was on the platform was killed when the train barreled through without warning.
“It started of as a regular day for that poor woman and her family no longer has her. It’s scary,” Shruti Bali said.
It was horrifying for the hundreds who were packed onto the commuter train.
“We just heard people screaming in the first car because they were trapped, they couldn’t get out,” a passenger who was in the second car told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.
Many witnesses said the train did not appear to brake at all and passengers prepared to brace for impact as the train careened into the station, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“We were pulling into the station, I was thinking we’re not stopping, we haven’t slowed down” passenger Lauren Berlamaino said. “The next thing I know, my head went forward, I hit the seat and I come back to and there was screaming.”
“When we got out, the first car was completely in the terminal, the roof had collapsed,” she said.
Another passenger said the train “just didn’t stop.”
“It was a big crash and then everything from the ceiling just fell,” another passenger said. “I think the train hit people in the Hoboken terminal that were standing waiting to get on the train.”
One passenger told CBS2’s Jessica Layton that she was helped by a higher power.
“I think God saved me today,” Amy Krulewitz said.
Passenger Omar Mamoun said he was sitting in one of the middle cars.
“I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t know what,” he told CBS2’s Alice Gainer. “I don’t think it slowed down at all.”
He said many passengers were standing at the moment of impact.
“People were falling on top of each other, things were flying all over the place,” he said.
Mamoun told CBS2’s Gainer that the train felt like it was moving very fast.
“Normally you would hear the brakes squeaking, and I didn’t hear that,” he said.
William Blaine, an engineer for another rail line had just stepped off a train when the crash occurred.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine Pop-Up Sites At Subway, Transit Hubs Target Commuters As FDA Approves Pfizer Vaccine For Children 12-15
“It looked like a bomb,” he said, “If you didn’t see the train you would have swore someone had a missile.”
Others were worried about more than just themselves. Alexis Valle is 5 months pregnant. The 24-year-old was on here way to work from Bergenfield when the crash happened.
“The baby’s fine, but the ceiling of the train fell on my head,” she said.
Surgeons stapled her head wound without anesthesia, protecting the baby that doctors said will be fine.
Marie, another of the 23 victims taken to Hoboken medical center, just 7 blocks from the crash site said she was running late, and almost missed the train that ultimately crashed.
“It was screaming. Everybody screaming, and people were falling on each other,” she said.
Michael Larson, a NJ TRANSIT worker, said people were kicking out windows trying to get out the train.
“The second half of the first car was completely destroyed to where they were crawling on their hands and knees and we were trying to get as many people out,” he told WCBS 880. “I assisted in maybe three or four people getting out and then the first responders came and told me to exit.”
WFAN sportscaster John Minko said he was at the top of a stairway headed down to the PATH train when he heard screams and saw the train crash into the station.
“It simply did not stop,” Minko told 1010 WINS. “It went right through the barriers and into the reception area.”
He also told CBS2 that there was “mass confusion.”
“It was a mass scramble to get away from the scene,” he said.
Witness Tom Spina said he ended up at the Hoboken terminal by mistake after getting on the wrong train home Thursday morning.
“I just heard a very loud bang,” he said. “Folks were running in the opposite direction…You saw folks bleeding from the head, you saw folks limping, folks were on the ground that couldn’t move…There was just a lot of crying and screaming.”
“It was not a good scene, the train was there, the ceiling was collapsed on top of a portion of the train, there’s wiring, there’s water pipes that are everywhere,” Spina added. “I didn’t leave immediately, I probably should have but human nature is you want to help folks. There’s people that are hurt, you can’t just walk away from that.”
Another witness said she saw many people bleeding.
“It just happened within seconds,” another witness said. “It was shocking to see all these people with so much blood everywhere.”
A man who recently moved to Hoboken from Atlanta told Burrell he was on his way to work when the crash occurred.
“I started going towards the platform and then all of a sudden I heard this really loud bang followed by this deafening silence,” he said. “And then all of a sudden I just hear all these screams coming.”MORE NEWS: 'This Is Not Just Any Usual Recovery': Economist Explains Rash Of Price Hikes, Product Shortages
The cause of the crash is under investigation.