[Photo shows the accident site of a train derailment in New York borough of Bronx, on Dec. 1. (Xinhua/David Torres)]
NEW YORK, (Xinhua): At least four people were killed and 67 others injured when a passenger train derailed in New York City borough of Bronx Sunday morning.
At least 67 people were injured when the Metro-North train ran off the tracks on a curved section of the line, New York police chief Ray Kelly told reporters.
Earlier, New York City Fire Department has said 63 people were injured, among which 11 people were in critical condition, six were in serious condition with non-life threatening injuries and another 46 suffered minor injuries.
The southbound train, which was traveling from Poughkeepsie to Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan, went off the track about 91 meters north of the Spuyten-Duyvil Station in the Bronx just before 7:30 a.m. Sunday local time (1230 GMT), New York fire officials said.
At least four train cars were knocked completely on their side. None of the cars entered the Hudson or Harlem rivers, which are adjacent, but at least one ended up a few feet from the edge.
About 100 firefighters converged on the scene, helping extricate passengers and crew from the train. Police cordoned off the area, and hundreds of journalists gathered at a nearby highland.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “Four people lost their lives today in the holiday season, right after Thanksgiving, and they are in our thoughts and prayers.”
The train operator was alive and was being treated for injuries, he told reporters at the scene.
Bill Bernack, a resident who lives about half a mile away from the scene, described the tragic incident as “very surprising” and “very unusual.”
“Normally it is very safe, nothing ever happened. It is very unusual, very unusual to happen,” he told Xinhua. “It (the sound of the accident) is very hard to hear, it is very muffled. We barely knew what it was until we came downstairs.”
A middle-aged couple also came to the scene to pray for the victims. The two, who only identified themselves as New Yorkers, said it was a very tragic accident. “I think they (victims) need prayers,” she told Xinhua.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) said the crash was reported by the engineer and that it wasn’t clear if any crew members were injured.
Service has been suspended indefinitely on the Hudson Line, which runs along the Hudson River for the majority of its roughly 80-mile (128 kilometer) stretch. It is one of the busiest commuter lines into the United States’ busiest train terminal.
Rob Astorino, Westchester County executive, told reports that, “We are going to meet MTA officials later today to talk about what is next with regard to commuting, not today, but also tomorrow and the rest of the week. A lot of trains will be affected, (and) a lot of commuters are going to be affected.”
Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said there were about 100 people on the train, and things could be much worse if there had been more passengers.
The cause of the accident was still under investigation.
Several survivors recounted that the train was going a lot faster than usual when the accident occurred. Any curve in the tracks would have speed restrictions, officials said.
Till now, it was unclear whether any Chinese or American Chinese was among the injuries. It would be awhile to assess all of the damage and injuries involved.
In July, a freight train derailed near the same station, but it was believed to involve a different track.
Editor: Hou Qiang