The nightmare images from the outside only make the idea of what happened inside more unimaginable but as the sun rose Wednesday, the reality of Tuesday night’s Amtrak disaster in North Philly fully set in.
At least six people are dead and half a dozen of the 65 injured are in critical, officials said. So far, terrorism has been ruled out by the FBI and transportation investigators are converging in the scene.
It was 9:30 p.m. when disaster struck and for reasons still not known, six of Northeast regional train 188’s cars, and its engines derailed.
The train, due in New York at 10:30 p..m., line had just left Philadelphia’s Penn Station and was rounding a curve in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood along the Delaware River.
"It's an absolute disastrous mess," Philly Mayor Michael Nutter told reporters at a news conference near the site. "I've never seen anything like this in my life."
Here’s what we know:
TERRORISM: There is no indication, so far, of terrorism involvement, FBI officials tell CNN.
ACCIDENT PROBE: A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) go team is on the scene and the full investigative crew is arriving Wednesday morning. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is also sending eight investigators to the scene.
VICTIM SERVICES: There were 238 passengers and five crew members at the time of the crash. About 130 people were hospitalized, some taken there by SEPTA buses. Amtrak’s hotline for friends and family of those on board: 800-523-9101.
AMTRAK SERVICE: Amtrak says on its blog that there will be no service Wednesday between New York and Philly and that NJ Transit will honor Amtrak tickets between Trenton, NJ and the Big Apple. There is modified service will between Washington and Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and New York and Boston. Other Amtrak Service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer; New Haven and Springfield, Mass., and other points will operate.
HISTORY REPEATS: The same stretch of track was the scene, 72 years ago, of one of the worst rail accidents in history. The 1943 Frankford Junction crash on Labor Day killed 79 and injured 117.
“We do not know what happened here. We do not know why this happened,” Nutter said.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speculated on several local NYC stations Tuesday night that speed may have been a factor but Nutter told CNN: "We have no idea what kind of speed we're talking about."
The Northeast line is often used by politicians and business men and women.
Former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was a passenger on the train, told MSNBC that the cafe car he was riding in flipped over, but he escaped with minor cuts and bruises.
He estimated the train was traveling at about 60 or 70 miles per hour (96-113 kph) when "all of a sudden, it went off the rails."
U.S. Senator Tom Carper of Delaware had been on the train but got off at Wilmington, Delaware, before the crash, he said in a Twitter message.
Passenger Daniel Wetrin, riding in the train's last car, told CNN by phone he was thrown onto the floor and into the aisle as his carriage left the tracks.
"Chairs were flying around, people were flying, bags, pretty chaotic," he said. "There were two people above our heads in the luggage rack."
Port Richmond is a working-class neighborhood that has recently become a popular place to live among younger adults in the city.
Sharon Achuff, 51, who lives along the tracks about 200 yards (meters) from the wreck, said she was sitting on her front stoop when she saw a bright, flashing blue light, followed by a loud boom.
In a video posted on social media, passengers could be heard crying and others were telling victims to crawl forward.
The crash was the latest in a series of rail accidents on heavily traveled passenger train routes over the past year.
In March, 21 people were injured in Los Angeles when a commuter train struck a car that turned in front of it, a month after 50 people were hurt and an engineer fatally injured when a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train struck a pickup truck.
In February, six people were killed and a dozen injured when the Metro North commuter train they were riding in north of New York City hit a car stalled on the tracks during rush hour. The driver of the vehicle also died.
With Sam Newhouse and John A. Oswald