A commuter train crashed into the station at a major transit hub for Manhattan on Thursday at the height of morning rush hour, killing at least one person and injuring 108 including the engineer, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday afternoon.
New Jersey Transit said the crash happened at around 8:45 a.m. local time and involved a train from the Pascack Valley Line that departed from Spring Valley, New York. The line runs through New Jersey's affluent Bergen County and ends in Hoboken, where thousands of commuters take trains or buses into New York City.
The cause of the crash at the Hoboken, New Jersey, station was not immediately known. NBC New York said authorities believe the crash may have resulted from operator error but stressed that the investigation was preliminary. The New Jersey Transit train was not equipped with positive train control technology that slows down trains when they exceed the speed limit, NBC News reported. Initial reports indicated that the train did not slow down as it entered the station.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday officials will be looking into positive train control technology and also for similarities between Thursday morning's crash and one in 2011 at the same station, Reuters reported.
Christie said in a news conference Thursday afternoon that officials know that the train "came in at much too high rate of speed." The train's engineer, who was seriously injured, was released from a local hospital and is cooperating with the investigation. Christie also said officials have no indication that the crash was anything other than a "tragic accident."
The one fatality as a result of the train crash was 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon of Hoboken, the state medical examiner's office confirmed. Bittar de Kroon worked in SAP's legal department until earlier this year, the company told CNBC. "We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and all those impacted by today's tragic event," the company said.
Earlier, NBC New York reported that three people had died and more than 100 were hurt. The hospital said more than 50 people were being treated there including three in critical condition and 40 "walking wounded." The hospital served as a trauma center for 9/11 and the 2009 Hudson River plane landing.
Transit officials said PATH subway service will resume in time for the Thursday afternoon rush. Officials also said they're working to make sure the terminal is safe.
One passenger in the first car of the train told NBC 4 New York the train "just felt like it never stopped. It didn't slow down. It didn't brake."
The crash caused extensive damage, and it was not known whether the station would be out of commission for an extended period.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is working closely with NJ Transit and authorities, as well as all local and federal partners to provide assistance and keep travelers safe.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were hurt, and I extend my deepest condolences to the families of those whose loved ones were lost in the fatal accident," he said in a statement.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called the images of the train derailment "horrifying."
A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board said in a news conference that the agency is launching an investigation into the crash. The NTSB will also look at positive train control, which governs train speed, as part of its investigation, the official said.