NYC train derailment survivor: 'I think this is going to be it. We're done'


by CBS News

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 10:14 AM

NEW YORK CITY -- Twenty four hours after a Metro-North train accident in New York City there were still many unanswered questions. The derailment was the first fatal crash in the commuter railroad’s 30 year history. Four passengers died and more than 60 others were injured.

The train was rounding a curve, just before the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx, when it suddenly jumped its track around 7:20 a.m. on Sunday.  

"It went flying off,” said passenger Ryan Kelly. “I got thrown across, back and forth, and it came to a halt and there was just people screaming and lot of soot and dust everywhere."

All seven cars and the rear locomotive derailed with one car stopping just short of the Harlem River.

Like many passengers, Joel Zaritsky had just dozed off as the train entered the sharp turn.

"You could hear an unbelievable screeching noise as it occurred,” he said. “It went to the side, you see the ground, and I said to myself, 'well, I think this is going to be it. We're done.'"

Within minutes, witnesses say first responders were on the scene pulling people to safety. The injured were rushed to local hospitals.

Emergency crews used airbags to search for victims under the wreckage. Officials say three of the four people who died were thrown from the train.

Among the victims were 54-year-old Donna Smith and 58-year-old Jim Lovell.

Lovell, a father of four, was heading to work on the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

It's still not clear how fast the train was going as it made that fatal turn. The train's engineer William Rockefeller, was among those treated.

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