1 dead, 114 hurt in Hoboken train crash; Victim, engineer identified

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, September 30, 2016
Investigation into fatal NJ Transit train crash
N.J. Burkett reports from Hoboken.

HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- At least one person was killed and more than 100 hurt when a commuter train carrying 250 passengers barreled into a New Jersey rail station during the Thursday morning rush hour, causing serious damage to both the train and station.

Witnesses reported serious injuries, including one woman who was trapped under concrete and many people bleeding.


"We're panicking, because I believe those people in the front were very badly injured," a passenger, Jamie, told reporters at the scene. "So they started yelling, because they saw the blood."

Video from @monduras via Twitter in Hoboken

The incident happened just before 9 a.m. Thursday, with witnesses reporting that the train appeared to crash into the station. Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, of Hoboken, was killed on the platform.

"We pray for the family of the one confirmed fatality, for her and her family," Governor Chris Christie said.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer called the incident "a tragedy for our city."

"As the mayor of Hoboken and knowing it is a Hoboken resident we lost today, one loss is too many loses," she said. "We didn't lose anyone in (Superstorm) Sandy, so this is heartbreaking for Hoboken."

15 people remain hospitalized, while the majority of victims have been treated and released. The engineer, 48-year-old Thomas Gallagher, is said to be cooperating with authorities.

"I heard a kaboom, and the whole place shook," said William Blaine, an engineer for a freight line who had just gotten off a train. "Everybody got quiet, because the first thing you think is a bomb...I ran out, and I just saw people all over the ground and debris all over the place."

PHOTOS: Train crash in Hoboken

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It was train number 1614 on the Pascack Valley Line, which departed from Spring Valley at 7:23 and was due to arrive in Hoboken at 8:38. It was apparently running late, and witnesses said it was moving fast when it slammed into the platform. Passengers told Eyewitness News that there was absolutely no braking as the train pulled into the station.

Kemberly Richardson reporting

"I stepped over a body, and it was dead woman," Blaine said. "I backed up, and people started running over, and I just started telling people they needed to get back, because there was electrical wiring and water running, and the ceiling was about to cave in."

Officials say there is no clear indication of the cause at this point, but the possibilities investigators are looking at include human failure, catastrophic mechanical failure, a medical condition and sabotage/terror/foul play. Investigators do NOT suspect anything intentional, but they are looking at everything.

Officials said 114 people were injured in total, and New Jersey Transit reported multiple passengers trapped, structural damage and a collapse in the station. Dozens of ambulances were at the scene, and victims were wheeled away on stretchers.

Tim Fleischer reports a woman killed in the Hoboken train crash has now been identified.

The train came to a halt in a covered area between the station's indoor waiting area and the platform. A metal structure covering the area collapsed, and officials reported heavy damage to terminal. Structural engineers and investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration are already on the scene, and investigators from the NTSB were headed there.

hoboken terminal map

Most of the injuries appeared to be in the first car or people struck by debris inside the station. Passengers on the second car and behind it were able to exit the train, and some reportedly broke the emergency windows to escape.

More than 50 of the injured were transported to Jersey City Medical Center.

Rob Nelson reports from Jersey City Medical Center, where many of the injured were taken.

All rail service is suspended in and out of Hoboken, as is South Hoboken ferry service. PATH service was temporarily suspended but resumed in both directions prior to the evening rush. NY Waterway will be crossing honoring tickets on all routes, and all other services are running normally. New Jersey Transit bus and private carriers are also honoring NJT rail tickets and passes, and passengers were advised to use NJ Transit Light Rail.

Hoboken, which is New Jersey Transit's fifth-busiest stations with 15,000 boardings per weekday, is the final stop for several train lines and a transfer point for many commuters on their way to New York City. There is no timetable as to when the terminal will reopen.

NJ Transit provides more than 200 million passenger trips annually on bus, rail and light rail lines. More than 100,000 people use NJ Transit trains to commute from New Jersey into New York City daily.