The calm of a sunny Sunday morning was shattered at around 7:20 a.m. when a southbound Metro North commuter train jumped the rails as it rounded the curve into Spuyten Duyvil station, injuring 63 passengers and killing four, according to Edward Kilduff, Chief of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY).
The diesel locomotive slid so far towards the Harlem River that it was obscured from the view of observers on the station bridge. What was visible was a tangled mass of passenger cars lying on their sides, another teetering at a forty-five degree angle. The two cars furthest to the rear remained on the tracks fully detached from the train.
“I just heard and then felt a shudder and it turned over,” said passenger Steven Ciccione, 29, a Long Island resident who was sitting on the right side of the third car when the train crashed. “People were falling on top of me and screaming. People were also trying to help each other.”
Peter Stillman, a white-haired Manhattan resident, was a passenger on the train who escaped without injury. Standing on Palisade Avenue with a large wheeled suitcase, he tried to make sense of what he had experienced.
“I was sleeping with a mask on, when I was awakened by a jolt and a crushing and grinding sound,” Mr. Stillman said. “Then my head was smashed up against the back of my chair and then we stopped. I remember being afraid that we were going to hit something harder. Many, many people were hurt badly. I don’t know if anyone was killed. There was blood all over the cars.”