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NEW YORK – Four people are dead and more than 60 injured after a Metro-North passenger train derailed on a curved section of track on its way to New York City.
Sixty-three people were injured — 11 critically — in the accident that occurred at 7:20 a.m., about 100 yards north of the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx, according to authorities.
A Metro-North spokesman tells FoxNews.com the derailment involved a southbound Hudson Line commuter train departing Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County at 5:54 a.m. — the second train to leave that station, Sunday.
The train was due to arrive at Manhattan’s Grand Central Station at 7:43 a.m. Passengers were removed from the wreck by authorities, with dozens bloodied and scratched, holding ice packs to their heads.
“I was asleep and I woke up when the car started rolling several times,” said a bloodied Joel Zaritsky, who was on his way to New York City for a dental convention.
“Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming. There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train.”
The whole train comprised seven cars, plus a diesel locomotive, and five of the cars went off the tracks, said Metro-North spokesman Aaron Donovan.
The derailment occurred near the Harlem River, and authorities say two cars were left lying on their sides, although none of the cars went into the nearby waterway.
“One approached the water and came close, but did not go in,” Donovan tells FoxNews.com.
Donovan said a locomotive was pushing the train from behind, although the operating engineer who controlled the train was stationed in the front of the first passenger car.
Other Metro-North railroad incidents in 2013.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said there were initial concerns that people may have been ejected from the train after the crash and landed in the water. The NYPD dispatched its dive team, helicopters and canine squad and nothing was found, Kelly said.
“It’s going to be a long time before this is cleared up,” MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders told Fox News. “It was not a hugely crowded train,” she added.
It is unknown as-of-yet what caused the derailment, although Anders told Fox News that authorities will unload the train’s black box event recorder for transfer to the National Transportation Safety Board.
“Whether speed is a factor will be determined as part of an investigation,” Anders noted, adding the accident occurred in a “slow-speed area,” designated as such because of a large curve.
Frank Tatulli, a passenger on the train, told WABC-TV the train appeared to be going “a lot faster” than usual as it approached the curve coming into the station.
Keith Holloway, an NTSB spokesman, said the agency was dispatching a Go-Team to investigate.
Donovan says the train was an express and was not due to stop in the station. Sunday’s incident occurred just south of where a train ferrying garbage derailed in mid-July.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the four deaths at a news conference at the site of the crash, adding that among the injured was the as-yet-unidentified train operator. In all, the victims were taken to four area hospitals.
The fire department says 130 firefighters are on the scene.
Edwin Valero was in an apartment building above the accident scene when the train derailed. He said that although none of the cars went into the water where the Harlem River meets the Hudson, at least one ended up a few feet from the water’s edge.
He says he didn’t realize the train had turned on its side until he saw a firefighter walking on the window.
A woman at the scene says numerous emergency vehicles have responded. Rebecca Schwartz initially said some of the trains are submerged in water, but a photo of the scene taken by another witness shows eight cars derailed, with none in the water.
Metro-North said it will provide bus service between White Plains and the Tarrytown Station for customers traveling in and out of Grand Central Station. Bus service was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
Amtrak Empire Line Service is currently being suspended between New York City and Albany, and no estimate was available for when service would be restored.
However, Amtrak said Northeast Corridor service between Boston and Washington is not affected.