On Sept. 29, a New Jersey Transit train in Hoboken, New Jersey crashed into the rail station, injuring over one hundred, and fatally injuring one. The train hit the station at full speed and caused extreme damage to the structure.
Witnesses said the train overran the stopping point, crashed into the bumper block, and hurtled through the concourse in the terminal. Personal accounts recall being thrown around the train and seeing debris falling from the roof and the concrete.
Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, of Hoboken, was killed, the State Medical Examiner's office announced. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the woman had been standing on the platform and was struck by debris.
Thomas Gallagher, who has since been released from the hospital, has said he has no memory of the crash. He said the brakes were working just fine, and the train was only going at ten miles per hour. An event data recorder, which collects information about the train’s speed and braking, was recovered but was not functioning properly. A second data recorder beneath a collapsed part of the train station’s roof has not been recovered yet.
Months before the deadly train crash, federal rail officials found dozens of violations during an audit that focused on NJ Transit’s safety and operations, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about an investigation and spoke to the AP anonymously. A Federal Railroad Administration audit was launched, and the federal regulatory agency found “dozens of safety violations” that had to be fixed immediately.
The agency has been fined as a result. Since 2011, New Jersey trains have been involved in more than one-hundred fifty accidents and have settled one-hundred eighty-three safety violations.