Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

NTSB begins probe of fatal Metro-North Valhalla crash "to keep this from happening again"

Cuomo: Sometimes tragedies like these "just the randomness of life"

The NTSB has opened investigation into Valhalla accident, in which a Metro-North tReuters

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has opened its investigation of the deadly Metro-North accident in Valhalla, the railroad's worst-ever accident ever.

NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said recording devices are being collected from the site where the train hit an SUV that is believed to have stalled on the tracks in Highway signals.

Devices will be examined from area rail signals, the crossing arms at the intersection, and traffic lights, Sumwalt said in Washington.

"We don't have a lot of hard facts, but we will be providing those later today," he added. The aim is to “find out what happened and why it happened . . . to keep this from happening again."

RELATED: See how social media covered crash.

The crash made a mess of the morning commute for passengers of the railroad’s Harlem Line, which carries 45,000 daily. Fourteen thousand of those riders live north of the crash, which has closed parts of the line down.

RelatedArticles

RELATED: The MTA has rail service updates.

Reuters is reporting that some commuters said they will forever fear riding in the front of a train after the tragedy.

RELATED: See story on Gov. Cuomo's visit to Valhalla death scene.

The third rail, which carries 750 volts of direct current, tore through the floor of the first car of the train, charring the carriage and sending billows of smoke into the air. Damage to the other seven cars was minimal.

"The third rail stops at the grade crossing, and so that's where the contact with the automobile was made," Thomas Prendergast, the MTA's chairman, told reporters at the scene late on Tuesday.

"It appears that the gasoline tank on the car burst and that started the fire," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

"This is a truly ugly and brutal sight," he said late Tuesday. "The third rail of the track came up from the explosion and went right through the (rail) car, it's a devastatingly ugly situation."

The third rail, which carries 750 volts of direct current, tore through the floor of the first car of the train, charring the carriage and sending billows of smoke into the air. Damage to the other seven cars was minimal.

"It's actually amazing that not more people were hurt on that train," Cuomo said Tuesday night.

The governor talked more about the horrific incident this morning with WCBS 880 radio:"I've also learned sometimes accidents just happen and sometimes there's nothing you can do in terms of design or lessons ...It's just the randomness of life."

The train was the Harlem Line's Wassaic-bound 5:44 p.m. out of Grand Central.
In addition to the fatalities in Tuesday night's tragedy, 15 people were injured, 10 of them seriously.

The crash is the latest in a string of accidents involving Metro-North and its deadliest. Until last night, the deadliest was the Spuyten Duyvil derailment in the Bronx on Dec. 1, 2013. There were four fatalities in that accident and 70 injuries.

That train was traveling nearly three times over the speed limit for the bend it was traveling arm. The engineer said he blacked out.

Several months before that, two Metro-North passenger trains collided between Fairfield and Bridgeport, Connecticut, injuring more than 70 people and halting services.

The NTSB released a report late last year that identified common safety issues with the railroad following probes of five accidents that left six people dead and another 126 injured between May 2013 and March 2014.

 
Consider AlsoFurther Articles