The Death Toll In The Hoboken Train Crash Has Sparked Some Confusion
More than 100 people were injured and at least one person was killed when a New Jersey train plowed into Hoboken Station during morning rush hour Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie confirmed in an afternoon press conference. Initially, three people were reported to have been killed in the crash by the Regional Medical Examiner's Office in New Jersey and the Jersey City Medical Center, causing some confusion about the crash's death toll.
New Jersey Transit train No. 1614 reportedly came into the Hoboken Station too fast, becoming airborne and careening through an interior wall into a passenger concourse area after hitting a bumper block barrier at 8:45 a.m., the height of rush hour, according to officials. Hoboken station is known to be one of the area's busiest, with roughly 50,000 estimated passengers passing through daily, according to NBC News. Footage of the crash shows segments of the station's glass roof collapsed over the train with debris strewn about.
Speaking alongside New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at a press conference Thursday, Gov. Christie corrected initial reports from the Regional Medical Examiner's Office in New Jersey and the Jersey City Medical Center, which had claimed three people had been killed in the crash. One commuter standing on the platform was killed after being struck by falling debris during the crash, Gov. Christie said. An additional 108 people were reported injured, including the train's engineer.
The New Jersey transit train was not equipped with positive train control (PTC), a federally mandated safety system designed to put the brakes on automatically when a train is coming in to a station at too high of a speed in an effort to prevent accidents. Congress pushed the deadline for railways around the country to install the technology back from the end of 2015 to the end of 2018, the Washington Post reported. "Positive train control systems... can be a benefit depending on the circumstances," Gov. Cuomo said at a press conference with Gov. Christie, stressing it was still not clear if PTC would have prevented Thursday's crash in Hoboken.
While officials have stressed the investigation into the cause of the train crash remains ongoing, preliminary reports are reportedly pointing to either an accident or operator error, according to CNN. "We need to investigate all potential causes, but you can see from the level of destruction that this was a train that was traveling at a high rate of speed," Gov. Christie reportedly told WCBS-TV. "NJ Transit has an exemplary safety record. So the first question you have as governor is to ask, 'How did this happen?' and try to make sure that this never happens again."