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60 Injured - 5 Critical - when Two Metro-North Trains Collide in Connecticut

May 20, 2013

An eastbound train derailed while heading toward New Haven, Conn., at about 6:10 p.m. on Friday, May 17th, forcing it to careen into a westbound train on a nearby track, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

Ultimately 60 people were injured, five of them seriously, according to a New York Times report. The crash of the two Metro-North Railroad trains happened about 50 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, in Fairfield, Conn.

One of the five seriously injured passengers was in critical condition, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy told the Times, after arriving on the scene Friday night.

Passengers said that, following the collision, there was chaos as riders sought to help each other escape from the trains. Since there was no platform for passengers to step onto, firemen had to wedge stepladders underneath the train to enable them to exit, according to the Times.

The MTA revealed that the police were investigating the collision “as though it were a crime scene,” since the cause of the derailment is unknown. The investigators were to be dispatched by The National Transportation Safety Board.

St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s emergency department admitted 27 people due to the derailment, Dianne Auger, a senior vice president, told the Times. Bridgeport Hospital was also admitting patients from the accident, she said.

“Most had minor injuries but there was one with a more serious head and neck injury,” she said.  A leg fracture and heavy lacerations were among the other types of injuries passengers suffered.

The eastbound train, which left Grand Central Terminal around 4:40 p.m. bound for New Haven, carried about 300 passengers. Traveling on the southernmost track when it derailed, the train swung leftward onto an adjacent track, striking a westbound train carrying about 400 passengers. That train had departed New Haven around 5:30 p.m. and was to arrive at Grand Central.

“The train leaned to the left and in so doing, clipped the train coming in the opposite direction,” Marjorie Anders, an MTA spokeswoman, told the Times.

Seven out of eight cars on the eastbound train derailed, as well as the first car on the westbound train, Anders said, adding that both trains still had remained upright.

Anders told theTimes that the crash was the most serious on the Metro-North Railroad since at least 1988, when an engineer was killed after his empty train crashed, in Mount Vernon, N.Y.

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