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N.Y. / Region|Dozens Injured as Train Crashes in New Jersey


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N.Y. / Region

Dozens Injured as Train Crashes in New Jersey


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Photo Paramedics tended to an injured man outside the PATH station in Hoboken, N.J., on Sunday morning after a crash. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Roughly 30 people were injured on Sunday as their PATH train in Hoboken, N.J., hit a rubberized barrier at the end of the line, said a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the line.

A passenger aboard the train said that the first car crumpled part of the platform and hit three turnstiles before stopping. The train pulled into the station at normal cruising speed, almost as if the brakes were not being applied, said the passenger, Mahoud Metwali, a 26-year-old resident of Jersey City who had been returning from his job operating a food cart in Midtown Manhattan.

Speaking outside Hoboken University Medical Center, with a friend translating from Arabic, he said smoke could be seen wafting out from under the train after he exited. Passengers were scared, he said, because they thought the crash could have been caused by a bomb.

Mr. Metwali had a bloody bump on his left temple, where he said his head smashed into a door, and a bandage cinched around the ankle that he said he had twisted as passengers rushed the doors. He said his nose bled for hours.


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The cause of the accident was not immediately clear. The Port Authority spokesman, John Kelly, said that roughly a third of the 90 people on board had injuries, though most of them appeared to be minor, and that a few people refused medical attention at the scene.

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Mr. Kelly said the train from New York was pulling into its Hoboken terminal just after 8:30 a.m. and struck a barrier designed to help absorb the impact if a train overshoots its mark for mechanical or other reasons.

Because the train was pulling into the station, passengers were getting ready to leave and were jostled by the crash, officials said. Humberto Roque, 31, a laborer from Queens who was going to New Jersey for a painting job, said that his head struck a bar and that he saw one passenger with a bloodied nose.

Mr. Roque, who addressed reporters in Spanish after he left Hoboken University Medical Center, said the impact sent people flying forward, as passengers screamed and banged on the doors for a few minutes until they opened.

Cesar Cayancela, a 45-year-old carpenter from Corona, Queens, was on his way to a job in Jersey City and was standing in a middle car when the hard stop tossed him into a handrail. He thought at first that “it was an explosion,” he said as he left the hospital with his right arm in a sling and bruises on the elbow. He recalled waiting about four minutes before the doors opened.

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The crash occurred on Track 2 of the station, according to a press release posted on Hoboken’s municipal Web site. By midday, some 34 people had been taken to three local hospitals, said Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken. At least 20 people had been examined by then for minor injuries at Hoboken University Medical Center, according to Spiros Hatiras, its chief executive.

Half a dozen more serious cases ended up at Jersey City Medical Center, which has a trauma unit. “Everybody is doing O.K. and so far, no significant injuries,” said Bill Wang, a doctor in the emergency room there.

A few cases also landed at Christ Hospital in Jersey City.

Train lines have been on high alert all week because of the raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. But for now, officials are treating this as an accident and nothing more, Mr. Kelly said.

One official who was briefed on the accident said that while the inquiry had just begun, it appeared that operator error might be to blame. The name of the train operator has not been released.


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Service was restored to one of the station’s three tracks about 7 p.m. Sunday, according to Justine Karp, a Port Authority spokeswoman. Ms. Karp said the authority was hopeful that full service would resume at the station  by the morning rush.

A similar event occurred on Oct. 21, 2009, when a PATH train from New Jersey crashed into the barricade as it arrived at the 33rd Street station near Herald Square.Also on Sunday, an out-of-service Amtrak train derailed about 12:30 p.m. in a tunnel connecting Manhattan and Queens.

There were no passengers on board and no crew members were hurt, said Danelle Hunter, an Amtrak spokeswoman. The train was still in the tunnel late Sunday night.

Amtrak expected “minimal” delays on Monday, Ms. Hunter said.

The Long Island Rail Road, which uses the same tunnel, was planning reduced service Monday morning.

Michael M. Grynbaum, Elizabeth A. Harris and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on May 9, 2011, on Page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: Dozens Are Injured as a PATH Train Crashes Into a Platform in Hoboken. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

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