DEADLY CRASH: Dozens hurt after train smashes through Hoboken station
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HOBOKEN — A 34-year-old city woman struck by debris died after a NJ Transit train smashed through a wall at the Hoboken terminal on Thursday morning, injuring more than a hundred people.
A law enforcement source confirmed one fatality to New Jersey 101.5, and Gov. Chris Christie confirmed the death speaking with New Jersey 101.5's Dennis and Judi.
CNBC reported on Twitter at about 10:10 a.m. that a medical examiner's office put the death toll at three, but officials said the crash had claimed just one life. Christie added early Thursday afternoon that officials did not expect the death toll to rise.
As of Thursday evening, the crash's sole fatality was Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, the state Attorney General's Office said.
Witnesses online and speaking to news agencies described seeing blood on the terminal's floor and covering several survivors. NJ Transit told New Jersey 101.5 mid-morning that some those injured were hurt critically.
Video above via Leon O on Twitter
Christie and other officials said early afternoon that 108 injuries were confirmed. Those hurt were taken to Jersey City Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center and Christ Hospital in Jersey City.
An NJ Transit employee speaking to television station WABC shortly before 10:30 a.m. said the train hit a bumper block, and went partially airborne. He said he didn't hear any sound of breaks.
"It was just a horrendous, horrendous exploding noise," the employee said.
After the crash, "we ran over and there were a lot of people kicking out windows trying to exit the train. We told them not to," fearful of possible electric wire shocks, he said. Once workers confirmed no power was running through the lines, workers went in. "The second half of the first car was completely destroyed to where they're crawling on their hands and knees."
"I saw some pretty serious injuries," he said.
Rich Scardaville, who was aboard the train, told the Wall Street Journal that it approached the station normally but suddenly "lurched forward at the last minute."
Then, he said, there was an "ungodly loud bang, like an explosion" before the lights went off and "everyone went flying."
Passenger Bhagyesh Shah said the train was crowded, particularly the first two cars, because they make for an easy exit into the Hoboken station. Passengers in the second car broke the emergency windows to get out.
"I saw a woman pinned under concrete," Shah told WNBC in New York. "A lot of people were bleeding; one guy was crying."
NJ Transit's Nancy Snyder told New Jersey 101.5 the train — No. 1614 on the Pascack Valley Line, which had left Spring Valley, New York and was due into Hoboken at 8:28 a.m. — had derailed from track 5. The train makes stops at Nanuet, Pearl River, Montvale, Park Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, Hillsdale, Westwood, Emerson, Oradell, River Edge, New Bridge Landing, Anderson Street, Essex Street, Teterboro, Wood-Ride.
The law enforcement source also told New Jersey 101.5 those injured were from the front car to the train as well as the platform area.
CBS New York said the incident happened around 8:30 a.m. at the 100-year-old NJ Transit station. NBC New York reported the crash caused extensive damage to the wall, with twisted metal and pile of bricks around the immediate are of the station.
ABC News also reported that, according to NJ Transit, several people remained trapped in the train around 10 a.m.
WFAN anchor John Minko told New York radio station WINS that the train "went right through the barriers and into the reception area." Helicopter footage from News 12 New Jersey shows extensive rail and roof damage, with at least a partial roof collapse.
Facebook had activated its safety check feature — encouraging those in the Hoboken area to check in and let friends know they're OK.
The Northeast Corridor is not directly affected by the crash.
Rail service in and out of Hoboken was suspended due to the incident. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and PATH were also suspended into and out of Hoboken Terminal. NJ Transit bus, private carriers and ferry services were cross-honoring NJ Transit rail tickets and passes.
It's the second serious crash involving NJ Transit equipment this week. One bus rear-ended another inside the Lincoln Tunnel on Tuesday.
This is a breaking story. Check back for additional information.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
— With reports by the Associated Press