October 08, 2016 - 10:02 PM
NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. - Dozens of people were injured Saturday when a commuter train hit a work train east of New York City and derailed, officials said.
The eastbound Long Island Rail Road train derailed east of New Hyde Park just after 9 p.m., a spokesman for the railroad said.
A spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 11 passengers were taken to hospitals, all with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening. Official estimates on the number of injured people ranged from 29 to 40.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said there were a "wide range of injuries from broken bones to lacerations to cuts."
About 600 people were on the 8:22 p.m. train out of Penn Station train when it crashed, the Democratic governor said in a statement.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast said the front car sideswiped the work train, causing the second and third cars of the passenger train to derail.
Dozens of firefighters and police officers were at the scene of the derailment, about 20 miles east of Manhattan.
The second and third cars were hanging off the track, which is slightly elevated. The cars were mangled and the doors appeared to have been pried open.
Passenger Ray Martel, 41, of West Hempstead, was heading home after spending the evening in New York City visiting friends.
Martel, who was in the first car, said when the train stuck something "everyone gasped."
"We knew we hit something but we didn't know how bad it was," he said.
Passenger Craig Heller of East Meadow told Newsday he was in the second car which "all of a sudden just started shaking."
"A chair in the car I was in went flying and the door crashed open," Heller said. "Fortunately, then it stopped and we were tilted in our car, but everybody in our car was fine. It felt like we could actually completely tip over, obviously, while it was happening. That was a fear."
Train service in the area was suspended in both directions indefinitely.
The Federal Railroad Administration said it had investigators en route to the scene.
The derailment happened just over a week after a commuter train crashed into the terminal in Hoboken, New Jersey, killing one person and injuring more than 100. Federal investigators are still trying to determine the cause.
Long Island Rail Road trains have been involved in 72 accidents since Jan. 1, 2011, according to federal data, including 3 collisions and 15 derailments on tracks used for passenger service.
The accidents caused the deaths of five people in vehicles that wound up on the tracks, 30 injuries and nearly $10 million in damage to train tracks and equipment.
Matthews reported from New York. Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and Michael Balsamo also contributed to this report.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016