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More than 100 injured after LIRR train crashes at Atlantic Terminal

Passengers Describe the Chaos to the Eagle

January 4, 2017 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Emergency personnel work at the scene at Atlantic Terminal after New York City authorities said a Long Island Rail Road train hit a bumping block at the station on Wednesday. Photo by Aaron Neufeld
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More than 100 people were injured on Tuesday around 8:20 a.m. when a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train crashed into a bumping block as it was coming into Atlantic Terminal.

The crash of Commuter Train No. 2817 on Track 6 caused tens of passengers to be thrown into each other and onto the floor. Authorities said that after the train left the tracks, it smashed into a work area and a piece of metal went through the bottom of the car’s floor.

The train had left Far Rockaway station at 7:18 a.m. and was set to arrive at Atlantic Terminal at 8:11 a.m.

Witnesses told the Brooklyn Eagle that the entire first car was up in the air, the station was filled with smoke and people were crying.

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Aaron Neufeld, who was in the second car, described the chaos to the Eagle.

“There was a loud boom,” he said. “Whoever was standing went flying. I was in my seat, thankfully. Bags went flying everywhere. When we got on the platform is when I saw the first car had completely derailed and was lifted up a couple feet into the air. There was shattered glass everywhere. Smoke was filling up the platform.

“A lot of people were crying,” he continued. “A few people were lying on the ground. One woman was on the ground holding her face — she had a bloody face, she was wailing. Some people were still in shock and not realizing the severity of the situation. Thankfully the MTA, NYPD, paramedics and FDNY all showed up relatively quickly within a few minutes.”

Several people were seen on stretchers leaving the terminal and at least 11 people were brought to nearby hospitals, according to authorities.

The victims were brought to Brooklyn Hospital Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital and Kings County Hospital Center, according to the Daily News.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the worst injury was a woman’s “possible” broken leg.

“We’ll have an investigation as to why the operator didn’t stop the train before it hit the bumping block, but that’s where we are at this time,” said ​Cuom​o. “It’s not that it derailed. The train hit the bumping block … the bumping block basically knocked it off the track.

“It was a train that didn’t stop when it was supposed to,” Cuomo added.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent personnel to investigate the crash.

There is “a signal system that controls it coming in at limited speeds,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. “But when you’re getting to the end it’s the locomotive engineer’s responsibility. And the train’s brakes have to work. All those things have to be looked at in the investigation.”

Shane Barbanel, who was in the third car, told the Eagle that the first compartment was “completely off the track” and that a portion of the front car went through a part of the building.

“We were passing the platform and we heard a loud bang, and then we felt the car jump and then we all looked at each other as if time had stopped for just a second and then we were thrown forward because the train came to a complete and sudden banging halt,” said Barbanel. “That halt was abrupt and violent and it threw everyone in the car forward. I was thrown into seat in front of me. Some people were thrown to the floor. One woman was thrown into the door of the next car. Everyone got up and asked each other, ‘How are you doing?’

“I think it is very, very, very fortunate that we were taxiing in,” he continued. “We were moving slowly. I can only imagine how terrible it would have been if we had been going at speed.”

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