At least 1 dead, up to 108 injured as commuter train smashes into New Jersey station

The roof collapse after a NJ Transit train crashed in to the platform at the Hoboken Terminal September 29, 2016 in Hoboken, New Jersey © Pancho Bernasconi
A New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed into the Hoboken terminal during rush hour, causing numerous injuries and major structural damage. One person was confirmed dead and up to 100 were injured, according to emergency services.

Local media are reporting "major structural damage" and "multiple injuries," while the first responders are setting up triage.

Eleven patients are undergoing emergency treatment - 3 of them are in critical condition, and 8 were said to be in serious condition. Another 40 are "walking wounded" with minor injuries, said officials at Jersey City Medical Center.

Emergency responder traffic spoke of three dead, but that figure could not be confirmed.

The accident occurred around 8:45 am local time, and involved the 1614 train on the Pascack Valley Line. Photos show that the lead car car 6036 - an Alstom Comet V model - hit the wall of the terminal. The engine was in the back of the train as it entered the station.

The cause of the crash is still unknown. NJ Transit trains are not equipped with Positive Train Control (PTC) system, according to News 12 New Jersey reporter Walt Kane. PTC is designed to stop the train automatically in case the operator becomes incapacitated.

Preliminary reports said "approximately 100 victims." Officials have confirmed up to 100 people were injured, and that everyone has been evacuated from both the train and the station.

Several people who were on the train tweeted they felt "lucky to be alive."

Images of the accident posted on social media showed mangled metal, wires and debris scattered all over the floor. It appears the impact was powerful enough to bring down part of the ceiling.

“It simply did not stop,” WFAN anchor John Minko, who witnessed the crash, told 1010 WINS. “It went right through the barriers and into the reception area.”

And this just happened...a train ran into the station in Hoboken #njtransit #prayeveyonessafe #train #hoboken

A photo posted by Alyson Hudson (@alyhudson) on

Hoboken terminal is a major transit hub for New Jersey commuters traveling to and from New York City. More than 50,000 people use the terminal daily making it the busiest railroad station in New Jersey and the state's second busiest transportation facility after Newark Liberty International Airport, according to New Jersey transit.

All NJ Transit trains are being held at Secaucus station. PATH train service to New York City has been suspended from Hoboken station. New York Waterway ferry is accepting all rail tickets and passes at the momnet, NJ Transit said.

By noon, however, the ferry terminal had shut down as well, causing further commuter delays.

“The fourth car was diagonal after the crash,” said one NJ transit commuter who was injured in the crash. “I was very fortunate, I just injured my foot.” 

The one person confirmed dead was on the platform when the train crashed.

“We are just launching our go-team for the investigation. We expect to arrive in Hoboken later today,” Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), speaking from Virginia, told reporters.

A reporter asked if the NTSB will be looking at ‘positive train control’ (PTC), an advanced design system to automatically prevent accidents from happening.

Dinh-Zarr said: “PTC has been one of our priorities, and we know that it has proven to prevent accidents. That is one of the things we will look at carefully.”

She said they would be looking at the similarities between today’s crash and the one that occurred at Hoboken in 2011. That crash injured more than 30 people when a PATH commuter train smashed into the bumpers at the end of the tracks on Mother’s Day.

“We always look at the past history and every other factor,” said Dinh-Zarr.

The governor of New Jersey held an afternoon briefing on the crash.

“Obviously an extraordinary tragedy. We prayed for the family of the one fatality, that we have confirmed, for her and her family. We have 108 injured, and all of those have been evacuated to local hospitals and receiving the care they need,” said Governor Chris Christie who told reports he had just taken a tour of the crash site with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, at a Thursday afternoon briefing in Hoboken.

“The engineer who was operating the train was also critically injured is at a local hospital and cooperating with law enforcement official in the investigation.”

The deceased victim has been identified as Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, of Hoboken, ABC News reported. She was originally from Santos, Brazil, according to her Facebook profile.

The train engineer is Thomas Gallagher, 48. Although originally listed as being in critical condition in the early afternoon, he has been released from the hospital,  Christie said Thursday evening.