Investigators to study data recorder following New Jersey train crash

One women died and a further 108 people were injured in the rush hour crash yesterday morning

Investigators to study data recorder following New Jersey train crash

Emergency personnel work outside the rail station after a train crash in Hoboken, N.J. Image: Joe Epstein / AP/Press Association Images

Investigators are working to get the event recorder out of the back of the train which plowed into a station in New Jersey killing one person.

A woman was killed by falling debris after the train derailed and ploughed into Hoboken station.

A further 108 people were injured, including 74 who were taken to hospital, when the crowded commuter train crashed during the morning rush hour.

Among those hurt was the driver, who has been described as "critically injured". However, he is said to be well enough to be cooperating with police as they investigate the crash.

People pulled concrete off bleeding victims and passengers kicked out windows to escape after the train ground to a halt in a covered waiting area.

The collision caused a section of the station's roof to collapse and scattered debris across the platform.

"It just never stopped. It was going really fast and the terminal was basically the brake for the train," Nancy Bido, a passenger on the train, told WNBC-TV in New York.

Another passenger, Bhagyesh Shah, said: "It was for a couple seconds, but it felt like an eternity."

Governor Chris Christie confirmed one woman had died after early reports in the US suggested three people had been killed.

"We need to pray for the one fatality we did have so far and for the other victims," he said in an interview on CNN.

"The engineer who was operating the train was also critically injured," he later told a news conference. "He is at a local hospital and cooperating with law enforcement officials in the investigation."

Mr Christie said most of those injured were passengers on board the train when it crashed, and not people waiting on the platform.

However, the woman who died was not on the train, he said, but was struck by debris as parts of the building's ceiling started to come down.

Witnesses reported seeing passengers bleeding and at least one woman trapped under concrete.

"Everyone was stunned"

Ross Bauer, an IT specialist who was heading to work in Manhattan, was sitting in the third or fourth car when the train pulled into the station.

"All of a sudden, there was an abrupt stop and a big jolt that threw people out of their seats," he said.

"The lights went out, and we heard a loud crashing noise - like an explosion - that turned out to be the roof of the terminal.

"I heard panicked screams, and everyone was stunned."

US railroads are under government orders to install positive train control, a safety system designed to prevent accidents by automatically slowing or stopping trains if they are travelling too fast.

However, the deadline has been repeatedly extended and none of New Jersey Transit's trains or tracks is fully equipped with the system yet.

The train had left Spring Valley, New York, at 7.23am and crashed into Hoboken Terminal at 8.45am, according to New Jersey Transit.

Images of the scene posted on Twitter showed what appeared to be debris from the roof and supporting pillars strewn across the platform, with a train carriage twisted sideways.

Another image showed wreckage, cables and pipes dangling from the building's ceiling, which appeared to have collapsed.

One tweeter posted a picture of a man clutching his head with blood down his arm and T-shirt.

Hoboken lies on the west bank of the Hudson River across from New York City.

Its station, one of the busiest in the metropolitan area, is used by many commuters travelling into Manhattan from New Jersey and further afield.

Rail services in the area were suspended due to the accident.

NJ Transit spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson said she did not know how fast the train was travelling at the time of the crash.

Bob Chipkevich, who formerly headed the National Transportation Safety Board's train crash investigations section, says the agency will be looking at whether the train was exceeding speed limits, both when it was approaching the station and when it entered the area.

Last month, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said New Jersey Transit had a lot of work yet to do on installing the necessary safety technology to slow speeding trains.

In response, New Jersey Transit said the FRA report did not reflect the work accomplished.

A crash at the same station on a different train line injured more than 30 people in 2011.