NEW YORK —
Authorities did not yet know how fast the train was traveling but had found a data recorder, he said.
One passenger, Frank Tatulli, told WABC-TV that the train appeared to be going “a lot faster” than usual as it approached the sharp curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station.
Nearby residents awoke to a building-shaking boom. Angel Gonzalez was in bed in his high-rise apartment overlooking the rail curve when he heard the roar.
“I thought it was a plane that crashed,” he said.
Mike Gallo heard the same noise as he was walking his dog. He looked down at the tracks, saw injured people climbing out of the train and “knew it was a tragedy right away.”
Within minutes, dozens of emergency crews arrived and carried passengers away on stretchers, some wearing neck braces. Others, bloodied and scratched, held ice packs to their heads.
Two men and two women were killed, said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the railroad. Three of the dead were found outside the train, and one was found inside, authorities said. The victims’ names had not yet been released. Autopsies were scheduled for Monday, said the New York City medical examiner’s office.
Eleven of the injured were believed to be critically wounded and another six seriously hurt, according to the Fire Department.
To Cuomo, the scene “looked like a toy train set that was mangled by some super-powerful force,” the governor said in a phone interview with CNN.
As deadly as the derailment was, the toll could have been far greater had it happened on a weekday, or had the lead car plunged into the water instead of nearing it. The train was about half-full at the time of the crash, rail officials said.
“On a workday, fully occupied, it would have been a tremendous disaster,” New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore Joseph Cassano told reporters at the scene. The affected line, called the Hudson line, carries about 18,000 people on an average weekday morning.