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One Dead, Dozens Hurt in Derailment

Sep 17, 2005 | CNN

A commuter train derailed Saturday morning on Chicago's South Side, killing one person and injuring dozens, officials said.

The cause of the derailment is not yet know, officials said.

The Metra train was traveling into the city from Joliet, Illinois, when it derailed near 47th Street, according to Metra spokesman Tom Miller.

Emergency crews, including dozens of ambulances and Life Flight helicopters, converged on the scene.

TV news footage showed people on stretchers and emergency workers.

"I got slammed up against the door; I held on. The book I was reading flew up in the air," a passenger told a local television station. "There's stuff everywhere. The guy next to me was laying on his back, and people were just screaming and crying."

She said she thought the train "was going to fall over on its side" and the train seemed to move "back and forth, back and forth very scary."

"People were in hysterics," she said. "Nobody knew what happened, and we all just tried to get out."

The Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed that one person was killed.

Monique Bond, a local emergency management spokeswoman, said 125 people were on the train and about 76 were injured and transported to six area hospitals. Later, fire and emergency authorities said the five-car Metra train had 185 passengers and four crew members and 83 people received injuries.

"It's unclear at this time as to what caused this derailment," said Miller, who said the National Transportation Safety Board will get involved in investigating.

The derailment disrupted service on the Rock Island line, Metra said.

"We ask all Rock Island customers to seek alternate transportation," Metra said.

Judy Pardonnet, a Metra spokeswoman, said that two years ago another derailment occurred on the same line. She said the service should be restored fully by Monday.

The Metra system is a 495 mile electric rail system that serves 280 stations in six Chicago-area counties.

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