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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced last night that it was sending a team to investigate a fatal crash that occurred in Westchester County, N.Y., yesterday between a MTA Metro-North Railroad train and a sports utility vehicle (SUV). Seven people, including six passengers and the SUV driver, were killed.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast said during a press conference last night that the Harlem Line train left Grand Central Terminal at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and later approached the SUV, which had stopped on the track at a grade crossing. The train struck the vehicle, causing an explosion and fire that consumed the vehicle and the train's first car. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the the third rail of the track came up due to the explosion and pierced the first car.
The Harlem Line service temporarily was suspended between North Plains and Pleasantville due to the accident, Metro-North officials said in a posting on the railroad's website.
The incident is being described as the worst crash in Metro-North's history. In December 2013, a Metro-North train derailed near Spuyten Duyvil Station in the Bronx, causing four passenger fatalities and 61 injuries. At the time, it was the deadliest train accident in New York City since 1991 and the first Metro-North accident that resulted in deaths.
Between May 2013 and March 2014, Metro-North experienced five accidents that caused six fatalities and 126 injuries, prompting the NTSB to launch a special investigation.