Yonkers METU Responds – NTSB investigates tragic Valhalla train crash

Yonkers METU Responds – NTSB investigates tragic Valhalla train crash

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Yonkers METU responded to yesterdays train derailment in Valhalla NY. It was requested by Mt. Pleasant Police Department through mutual aid. The unit responded with 3 ESU police officer EMT’s one ESU Police Supervisor in a command vehicle as well as an ambulance and paramedic supervisor from Empress Ambulance. Once on scene, the unit operated and functioned as a staged vehicle for EMS. It then transformed into a rehab unit for over 70 responders from all agencies, then a temporary command post for MTA Police. Attached are some photos from the incident.

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VALHALLA — National Transportation Safety Board investigators spent Wednesday poring over the train-SUV crash scene where six people died and 15 were injured Tuesday.

“We do have grade crossing accidents, and most of the time it’s fatal for occupants of the vehicles and not for train passengers,” NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt told reporters Wednesday. “We intend to find out what makes this accident different.”

He said the agency was focused on two questions: “Why was the car on the train tracks and what caused this accident to be fatal for occupants of the train?”

U.S. Sen Charles Schumer said in a phone conference Wednesday afternoon that the train was traveling 58 miles an hour, which is within the 60 mph speed limit for that stretch of tracks.

He said it was, “too early to point fingers, but we must get the bottom of this.”

Sumwalt said at a late-afternoon briefing that the NTSB was not confirming that speed figure pending further analysis. He said one of the train’s event recorders “has been downloaded here on site” successfully and the other was shipped back to NTSB headquarters for analysis.

He said the investigation will include experts in fire science, signals, and crossings, to name a few. The team will review events recorders that monitor the Metro-North train’s speed and brakes. They will also have access to video from the crossing and will review the crossing itself to ensure it meets federal standards.

“We will be documenting the wreckage,” he said. “We have already asked for aerial footage.” Members will be using special 3-D laser scanning devices to take images of the train and also attempting to get any available data from the SUV.

A “high priority” for investigators will be talking to the train engineer, conductor and crew, Sumwalt said. He expects those interviews to take place Thursday or Friday.