New Jersey Transit Train Crash Kills 1, Over 100 Injured
Vice Chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, provided this update to the Thursday morning rush hour New Jersey Transit train crash in Hoboken: “Yesterday our recorders experts worked with the experts from the manufacturers to access data from the recovered locomotive's event recorder, which was built in 1995. Unfortunately, the event recorder was not functioning during this trip."
Investigations to determine the cause of the crash remain ongoing. News of the malfunctioning event recorder (which functions similarly to a black box aircraft recorder) is sure to disappoint the families of those injured in the crash, as well as daily commuters utilizing that station for transfers. Hoboken is one of the busiest train stations in the New York/New Jersey area. That station services far too many people for this many questions to remain unanswered for an extended period of time.
The 19-year NJ Transit veteran, Thomas Gallagher aged 48, has been identified as the engineer of the train. Gallagher, of Morris Plains, New Jersey has accumulated ten years of experience as an engineer with NJ Transit.
Train experts indicate that human error is the likely cause. Countless passengers and bystanders when describing their experience, claim the train failed to slow down when entering the station. Whether the Pascack Valley line train exceeded the 10 mph speed limit for trains entering the station will likely be revealed as the NTSB investigation draws to a close. Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, told reporters at a press conference the train “came in at much too high a rate of speed. And the question is why is that.”
One outcome seems clear. If the train is not found to have suffered any mechanical setbacks, and the cause of the crash was solely human error, both the New Jersey Transit and Mr. Gallagher will be the target of dozens of lawsuits.
Final note on the person who was killed in the crash – she was 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon. Ms. de Kroon was struck by debris from the crash while she stood on the platform. This is a tragic loss, as de Kroon recently left her native Brazil to start a new life in New Jersey with her husband and young daughter. Her final act before entering the train station was dropping off her daughter at daycare.
Thumbnail Photo Credit: Ian Samuel via AP