At least one person is dead and up to 108 injured, some critically, when a New Jersey Transit commuter train failed to slow down and crashed into Hoboken Terminal at the height of Thursday morning rush hour, transit officials said.
At a press conference, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and transportation officials said that they know little about the incident other than that the train came into the station at a "much too high a rate of speed," did not stop, went through the barriers and "right into the wall," Gov. Christie said.
"We're not going to speculate about the cause of the accident," he said.
The one fatality was Hoboken resident Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, who was standing on the platform and was struck by falling debris, ABC7 reported.
Of the 108 injured, three are considered to be in critical, yet not life-threatening condition. The majority of the injured were treated for cuts and bruises and released from local hospitals. Many had walked to the emergency rooms, while others were transported via busses, and others in ambulances, officials said.
One of the critically injured is the train's conductor, identified as 48-year-old Thomas Gallagher who was found slumped over the control board following the crash, Gov. Cuomo said. He is conscious and cooperating with investigators and will be interviewed soon.
Officials told Metro NJ Transit service into and out of the station is expected to be suspended for at least three days as they assess the "extensive structural damage."
Police and NJ Transit officials are mum on why the accident occurred. Reports said authorities are attributing the derailment to accident or operator error, but added that it's still early in the investigation.
Preliminary reports indicate the No. 1614 train on the Pascack Valley line, traveling from Spring Valley to Hoboken, struck the terminal building on Track 5 around 8:45 a.m.
The train went “over the bumper block, right through the depot” and came to a stop at a wall just before the station’s waiting area,” Michael Larson, a NJ Transit employee who was one of the first responders at the crash, told reporters during a CNN broadcast.
Dramatic pictures posted by commuters showed a train carriage that appeared to have smashed right through the station concourse, collapsing a section of the roof, scattering debris and wreckage and causing devastation.
The Jersey City Medical Center was expecting to receive 50 people with injuries, 10 of which were serious. The center also has set up a hotline for families to see if any loved ones involved in the accident are among their patients. According to the New York Times, another 16 patients were transported to Hoboken University Medical Center, and at least one to Christ Hospital in Jersey City.