A Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx on Sunday morning just north of Manhattan, in a “bloodbath” that killed four passengers and injured 60 more, authorities said.
The accident happened at 7:22 a.m. about 100 feet north of the Spuyten Duyvil station, as all seven passenger cars derailed, according to MTA officials.
“I was asleep and I woke up when the car started rolling several times. Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming,” said passenger Joel Zaritsky, headed into New York for a dental convention.
“There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train.”
The train wasn’t scheduled to stop at Spuyten Duyvil and the train’s operator, 46-year-old William Rockefeller, said he hit brakes but they didn’t work, according to law enforcement sources.
One FDNY rescuer at the scene said he couldn’t believe the carnage in front of him.
“It was just a bloodbath,” the FDNY Bravest said. “This is the worse accident scene I’ve ever worked. There was blood everywhere.”
Family of passengers on the derailed train are being asked to call 311 or (212) 639-9675 for more information about their loved ones’ whereabouts.
There were at least four dead, 11 critically injured, six seriously hurt and 46 riders with minor wounds, authorities said. The dead included three men and one woman, according to WABC-TV.
One of the dead was buried in wreckage between cars.
“I’ve just toured the cars and it’s horrific,” said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. “The sheer speed the train must have been going … hopefully the injured will survive. We’re all praying for the critically injured.”
Five NYPD cops were on board the train but only one of them, a female officer, was injured, law enforcement sources said.
The cop suffered broke a shoulder and rib in the crash, and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly visited her at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
One of the injured was a 43-year-old man, who was being treated at St. Barnabas for a damaged spinal cord.
The terrifying crash sent passengers flying.
“I was just holding on, I was scared,” said passenger Eddie Russell, 48, headed into town to work as a security guard at SiriusXM radio. “And people were flying around. If you couldn’t hold on, you were flying.”
The crash happened at the foot of Spuyten Duyvil creek and cars narrowly missed going into the water.
NYPD dive teams fished into the creek just to make sure no victims were submerged.
“We believe, we believe, but we need to obviously recreate this. We believe three of the four fatalities were thrown out as the train came off the track and was twisting and turning,” FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano said.
Train No. 8808 originated out of Poughkeepsie, departing at 5:54 a.m., and was scheduled to arrive into Grand Central Terminal at 7:43 a.m., officials said. The cars were being pushed south by a locomotive.
Rescuers were slowed briefly by the steep incline between the street and tracks below.
“The train flipped and there was substantial damage,” FDNY chief of department Edward Kilduff. “The access to the area was a tremendous challenge [to aid the injured] but we were able overcome that.”
Several passengers said the train seemed to be moving too fast on a curve headed toward Spuyten Duyvil station.
“It would appear the train was clearly going too fast on the curve,” City Councilman Oliver Koppell [D-Bronx] said.
“I take this train every morning and they always slow on this curve. On first look, it appears the operator was going way too fast.”
The train was going “a lot faster” than usual as it approached the tricky bend, passenger Frank Tatulli told Channel 7. The speed limit coming into Spuyten Duyvil is 30 mph, the MTA said.
“The guy was going on one of the turns fast. I have no idea why,” said Tatulli, who rides this same train into work in Manhattan every Sunday morning. “It [the train] left them [tracks] because it went too fast.”
Gov. Cuomo rushed to the Bronx and toured the crash site. NTSB investigators were set to take charge of the investigation.
“It’s obviously a very tragic situation,” Cuomo said.”What we do know is four people lost their lives today in the holiday season right after Thanksgiving. They’re in our thoughts and prayers.”
Red Cross volunteers set up a makeshift triage operation, prepping injured passengers for ambulance rides to the hospital.
“It [the train] just started to tip and then `bang!’ ” a 50-something woman said as she was treated by the Red Cross. “I hit the seat in front of me. The next thing, I was sitting on a window and the lights were off. The car was on its side. Everything hurts.”
A 30-something woman, shaking under a Red Cross blanket with an ice packet on her head, was in obvious pain when she said: “It hurts so bad.”
“I was like a bomb went off, I don’t know,” she said, describing the derailment.
Neighborhood resident Brendan Conley said he was jarred awake by the loud crash.
“I thought I heard what I thought was a building collapsing,” said Conley, 22. “I came to the window and saw people walking across the tracks. Smoke was coming out of the second car that rolled over.
I yelled for my mom to call the fire department. I stood there and saw 40 or 50 people come climbing out of the train on their own.”
Another neighbor, 62-year-old Mike Segell, said the train cars coming apart.
“It sounded like an explosion and I looked and saw the cars hitting each other,” Segell said. “The FDNY got here really fast and started cutting the train doors and windows with grinders.”
Reginald Ragin, 45, was anxiously waited outside Jacobi Medical Center in hopes of seeing his s sister, Sharon Martin, 42, of Newburgh, who was on her way into Midtown where she works for the MTA.
“The nurse said they’re really busy in the back. I asked her if she could please go in the back and check her status. She came back and said she’s OK,” Ragin said.
“That was the most she could tell me. They won’t allow anyone in the back. They won’t tell anyone any other information. That’s why I’m out here right now.”
Steven Ciccone, a 29-year-old Long Island man on the train, said he didn’t notice it going too fast before his fellow passengers were sudden piling on him.
“It [the train] shuddered and it started to flip and other passengers fell on top of me,” he said. “there were screams and laments from the injured.”
A freight train hauling garbage derailed in about the same place of Sunday’s crash in the Bronx back on July 18.
The northbound train went off rails between the Spuyten Duyvil and Marble Hill stations.