PATH Train Crash Injures 34 Passengers

Published: Sunday, May 08, 2011, 12:51 PM Updated: Sunday, May 08, 2011, 4:34 PM By The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk HOBOKEN — A PATH train pulling into the train station in Hoboken crashed into the bumpers at the end of the tracks and injured several dozen people, said Port Authority spokesman John Kelly. The train was arriving on Track No. 2 around 8:30 a.m. when it hit the spring bumper at the end of the tracks, Kelly said. Mayor Dawn Zimmer said 34 passengers received minor injuries. Those injured were taken to Hoboken University Medical Center, Jersey City Medical Center and Christ Hospital, the mayor said, characterizing many as “neck injuries.” U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has already asked the National Traffic Safety Board to investigate the accident, and the agency’s representatives were at the site early Sunday afternoon. Eyewitnesses said the accident happened suddenly. The train was screeching and then hit a barrier, said Humberto Roque, one of the passengers, through an interpreter. “Then everyone went forward, and people fell. People were screaming,” he said. “People were banging on the doors, trying to open them.” Roque hit his head on a pole inside the train, he said. He had red marks on the right side of his face as he walked out of Hoboken University Medical Center around 11:20 a.m. with a yellow inpatient band on his arm. Mark Rabson, spokesman for the Jersey City Medical Center, characterized the injuries as “minor” scrapes and bruises to The Jersey Journal. He said the patients at the hospital — five men and one woman — are all conscious, talking, and being checked for broken bones. All medical personnel left the scene as of 11 a.m. and five passengers refused medical attention, Rabson added. The Hoboken train terminal is closed to the public and surrounded by ambulances and police vehicles. PATH train service is currently suspended to and from the Hoboken station, according to a Port Authority official. Passengers are being instructed to take Hudson Bergen Light Rail line to the Pavonia-Newport Station in Jersey City, and tickets are being cross-honored by bus and light rail. Zimmer said officials were hoping to have one of the three tracks at the station open this afternoon, and perhaps two open for the Monday morning commute. A NJ Transit spokesman said the accident is not impacting the company’s train schedule. Dennis Schino, a Hoboken man, was out for a run when he saw the activity around the station. He saw between 10 and 15 people brought out on stretchers or with cervical collars to stabilize their necks. “I saw the heavy rescue come flying by,” he said. “The first thing I’m thinking is a terrorist attack.” But Schino used a police scanner function on his smartphone and confirmed it was not as serious as he originally thought. “I ride the PATH, so it’s something I follow,” he said. Port Authority has not yet released a cause of the accident. The motorman will be tested for drugs and alcohol under standard procedures, Kelly said.

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