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NYC train collision causes subway derailment; 24 injured

Passengers recount scary moments when subway trains collided and derailed on UWS
Passengers recount scary moments when subway trains collided and derailed on UWS 03:01

NEW YORK -- A subway collision caused two trains to derail Thursday afternoon in Manhattan, the MTA said. 

The accident happened at around 3 p.m. near 96th Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side. The FDNY said 24 people suffered non-life threatening injuries. 

Both subways were 1 trains, NYC Transit President Richard Davey said. 

One of the trains had 300 passengers on board at the time of the crash. The other was out of service after having been vandalized, officials said.

The NYPD said two transit K-9 officers assigned to the station were alerted by a good Samaritan when the collision first happened.

"They rendered aid, again requested EMS to respond to the scene, and then those officers, along with additional officers, that responded helped people off the trains and onto the platforms to safety," NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said.

Two 1 trains collided and derailed on Jan. 4, 2024.

The FDNY tweeted images showing one of the trains as emergency crews rushed in. What passengers saw as they exited the train left them speechless.

"The floors were all crunched up. The seats were really bad. They didn't even look like seats no more. The poles were all bent," one said.

Officials said the impact injured two dozen people.

"I hit my head against the window. People were getting hurt, basically," a passenger said.

"Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured. The injuries that were sustained were consistent with a low-speed train derailment," FDNY Deputy Chief Ian Swords said.

What caused the train derailment?

"The trains, literally, at slow speed, thankfully, bumped into each other just north of the station. We were able to evacuate a number of our customers," Davey said. "Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. Obviously, two trains should not be bumping into one another. We're going to get to the bottom of that. What we do know is that the out-of-service train had been vandalized. A number of emergency cords had been pulled earlier by someone. They were able to reset all of them except one, and that was the reason why that train was still stuck in the station." 

"The train started shaking, shaking, shaking, shaking, very hard," one passenger said. "Everyone was scared, screaming. There was a lot of children. Everyone was trying to call 911." 

MTA officials discuss NYC subway derailment 11:57

"All of a sudden, we just felt, like, a loud boom. Everybody on the train kind of, like, swayed back and forth crazily, and there was a loud explosion. And all of the sudden, the train stopped, kind of, smoke was coming into the car. It was insane. It was super nerve-wracking," a passenger said.

"I thought the concrete on top of the train was going to fall in. I thought the subway was going to fall in on us," commuter Gregory King added.

Emergency responders requested the MTA switch the power off, and then they were able to evacuate the train that had passengers on it. 

Davey said the out-of-service train was being operated from the middle of the train, from the conductor position, although there was a train operator at the front of the train and two other employees on board as well. 

"At the end of the day, thankfully, this was low speed. We'll get to the bottom of this, and make sure that whatever occurred doesn't happen again," Davey said.

MTA working to fix derailment in time for Friday morning commute 02:13

Full subway service may not be restored until Friday

Transit officials said it will take some time before service is back up and running. A lot of work needs to be done during the overnight hours.

"We have crews down there now, I expect will be out there all night. And my hope is we will have service restored tomorrow for rush hour. But I cannot guarantee that," Davey said.

There was partial service Thursday night following suspensions on the 1, 2 and 3 lines, and changes to some 4 and 5 trains.

"I might have to walk a few blocks up and to Columbus Circle and see. Maybe I can catch another train there," said Hadi Soussi of Long Island City.

Passengers on their way home from work, school, or simply running errands had no idea they would be dealing with this level of subway disruptions.

A trip to the doctor cost Jerry Stevens a pretty penny.

"I had to catch a yellow cab that cost me $60 to get there. Now I gotta go to Queens to get my medicine," Stevens said.

"It happens. It's life. It's something you gotta go through living in New York City," added Shawn Reid of Pelham Parkway.

Some commuters were already planning ahead.

"Tomorrow, I'm gonna take the bus because definitely I can't do the train," said Cristina Garcia of the Upper West Side.

An MTA press briefing is planned for 8:30 a.m. on Friday to discuss derailment and service changes. In the meantime, customers are being asked to check the MTA website or the MTA app for updates.

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