Passengers: Train ‘Never Stopped’ Before Plowing Into Hoboken Platform

Passengers describe terrifying train crash

Multiple passengers who were on a crowded commuter train that plowed into New Jersey Transit's Hoboken Terminal Thursday morning said the train did not brake before the crash. 

"We approached the station and the train just felt like it never stopped," Jamie Weatherhead-Sal, who was standing at the door between the first and second car, told NBC4 New York. "The train just kept going, the lights shut off, people started yelling."

A 34-year-old Hoboken woman was killed and more than 100 were injured in the crash, officials said. There were conflicting reports about the number of casualties throughout the morning.

A New Jersey Transit spokesperson speaking at a short media briefing would not comment on how fast the train was going when it entered the platform.

Another passenger, Bhagyesh Sha, told MSNBC the train was traveling at its usual speed when it neared the terminal, but it never stopped.

“It did not brake at all,” said Shaw, who was standing in the back of the second train car when it rammed through the platform. 

He said the train hit a couple of pillars, causing the roof to collapse onto the train. 

"It was for a couple seconds, but it felt like an eternity," Shah said of the crash. "I saw a woman pinned under the concrete. A lot of people were bleeding, one guy was crying." 

New Jersey Transit machinist Michael Larson saw the train entering the platform at a "higher speed" than the usual two to three mph. 

“It was horrific. It was an explosion of concrete, dust, electrical wire," Larson said of the crash.

He said passengers were scrambling to exit the train through windows but he and others tried to warn them of live wires hanging at the scene and to wait for emergency responders to arrive. 

"One woman had a gash the entire length of her leg," Larson added. 

The train came to a halt in a covered area between the station's indoor waiting area and the platform. 

"It simply did not stop," WFAN anchor John Minko, who witnessed the crash, told 1010 WINS. "It went right through the barriers and into the reception area."

Ross Bauer, 32, a system engineer from Hackensack, New Jersey, who was riding at the back of the train, said the train was going into the station but "the car never decelerated."

Bauer told NBC News he felt a "big jolt" before the train slammed into the platform. 

Nancy Bido, who was sitting in the middle of the train, told NBC 4 New York that it felt like the train was "going really too fast" and "never stopped." 

"Everybody was pretty shaken up and upset," said Bido who hit her head on the person in front of her. She was waiting to be taken to one of three hospitals in the area treating people.

"It was a really disastrous scene," she said. 

Weatherhead-Sal said she saw people get thrown on impact and one woman got her legs caught in the door. Fellow passengers were able to pull her up to safety. Another man was bleeding from a gash in his forehead but was still trying to help fellow passengers.

"People in front of me were badly injured and then we just heard people were screaming in the first car; they were trapped, they couldn't get out," she said.

The conductor helped them get off the train, added Weatherhead-Sal, who was not injured. 

NBC staffer Aracely Hillebrecht, 32, was on the platform at the time the train hit the station.

"I was about 30 feet from it," she told NBC News. "I heard screeching and we saw the train and someone yelled 'run.'"

"We heard the train crash and heard the sound of water as the roof collapsed. People were scrambling and running away from the train." Hillebrecht said she saw people who were "really hurt" and "some people couldn't walk."

Hillebrecht, who lives about 10 to 15 minutes away from the station, said she was not injured.

Hoboken resident Matt Thompson recalled an eerie silence after the train hit.

"It was just like maybe two or three seconds of just nothingness, and I froze, and then you just hear all these screams just pouring out," Thompson said. 

He said he saw people "running up the stairs on their hands and knees towards me." 

Alexis Valle, a 24-year-old woman who is five months pregnant, told NBC 4 New York that part of the train collapsed on her head. She was dazed, but was picked up and passed out a window by someone else aboard the train. She said afterward, she was taken to the hospital, where she got four staples to the head.

"I can't really take anything, so I had to get staples without medication or numbing," she said. 

Another passenger, Steve Mesiano, told MSNBC he heard a "huge, huge bang, and the lights went off." He was in the second train car, and said he saw the roof of the first car collapse.

When he got out, Mesiano saw bloodied passengers everywhere. 

"There was blood on the floor," he said.

Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report.

Contact Us