The operator of a commuter train died and several passengers were injured after the trolley she was driving slammed into the back of another train, derailing both, officials said.
Investigators did not know what caused Wednesday's wreck, which killed Terrese Edmonds, 24, and injured about 10 passengers in an aboveground accident near a station in suburban Newton, said Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
The two-car train Edmonds was operating struck the back of another two-car train approaching Woodland Station outbound on the D branch of the Green Line at about 6 p.m., Pesaturo said. The trains had about 200 passengers combined.
"The first one was stopped at a red signal and was ready to proceed to the station when it was struck," he said.
For several hours, firefighters struggled frantically to free Edmonds from the mangled wreckage. She was finally extricated early Thursday morning, about seven hours after the crash.
"It is my unfortunate duty to report the death of one of our employees," MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas said. He said it was a "miracle" that there weren't more deaths.
One passenger was flown to a Boston hospital, and the other injured commuters were taken to nearby Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The hospital had eight train-wreck patients, including two who walked in, none with serious injuries, said spokesman Brian O'Dea.
Federal investigators were scheduled to arrive at the scene on Thursday morning to study the scene and interview witnesses, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. A full report is not expected for up to 18 months, he said.
Both trains remained at the crash site Thursday morning, covered in tarpaulins. The MBTA was busing passengers around the crash site.
Passenger Barry Gallup, standing aboard the train that was hit, told WCVB-TV that the impact threw him to the floor.
"I may have been knocked out for a few seconds. ... The next thing I knew I was lying on the ground," Gallup told WCVB.
He described a confused scene immediately after the crash, with some passengers screaming and small fires breaking out on the side of the train. Other passengers concurred about the chaos.
"There was a 70-year-old old guy who went ballistic, screaming at the conductor, 'You killed my wife! You killed my wife!' And the wife is going, 'I'm OK! I'm OK,"' passenger Matt Stone, 46, told The Boston Globe.
Massachusetts transit officials interviewed the surviving three operators Wednesday, Pesaturo said.
Gov. Deval Patrick telephoned Grabauskas at the scene of the accident to offer any necessary assistance, Pesaturo said.
"The governor also expressed that his thoughts are with the passengers, the train crew and the emergency responders who are working to extricate this female operator from the train," he said.