Zee Media Bureau
Bridgeport: Ruling out any signs of foul play, US officials are now reportedly investigating whether a cracked rail could be the possible cause of train derailment and subsequent collision that left at least 60 injured.
A part of the broken rail is now being sent to the laboratory for analysis, said National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener, as per a news agency report.
Weener said it`s not clear if the accident caused the fracture or if the rail was broken before the crash. He said he won`t speculate on the cause of the derailment and emphasized the investigation was in its early stages.
Seventy-two people were sent to the hospital Friday evening after a Metro-North train heading east from New York City derailed and was hit by a train heading west from New Haven. Most have been discharged.
Officials earlier described devastating damage and said it was fortunate no one was killed.
"All of the injured people described the really harrowing experience of having the train jolt to a stop, the dust, darkness, other kinds of factors that made it particularly frightening," said US Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who visited several patients in the hospital.
The crash damaged the tracks and threatened to snarl travel in the Northeast Corridor. The crash also caused Amtrak to suspend service between New York and Boston.
US Sen. Chris Murphy said it was "frankly amazing" people weren`t killed on scene.
Metro-North said train service will remain suspended between South Norwalk and New Haven until further notice. Railroad officials said rebuilding the two tracks and restore train service "will take well into next week."
NTSB investigators arrived Saturday and are expected to be on site for seven to 10 days.
About 700 people were on board the Metro-North trains when one heading east from New York City`s Grand Central Terminal to New Haven derailed at about 6:10 pm just outside Bridgeport, transit and Bridgeport officials said. Passengers described a chaotic, terrifying scene of crunching metal and flying bodies.
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said the disruption caused by the crash could cost the region`s economy millions of dollars.
The last significant train collision involving Metro-North occurred in 1988 when a train engineer was killed in Mount Vernon, NY, when one train empty of passengers rear-ended another, railroad officials said.
(With Agency Inputs)