'People started panicking': Deadly train crash survivors share stories

Posted: Updated:
WESTBURY -

Survivors of Tuesday night's triple fatal Long Island Rail Road train collision are sharing their stories.

A vehicle was struck at the School Street crossing in Westbury by two trains -- one heading eastbound, the other westbound. All three people inside the vehicle were killed.

Newsday reporter Craig Schneider and Nirmal Mitra, a copy editor for the paper, were headed home on board the westbound train when the ride suddenly went out of control.

"I saw flames come up outside the window...and I realized this is something very serious," Schneider says.

"We did grind to a stop; people started panicking," Mitra recalls.

Passengers say they were amazed the train didn't roll down a nearby embankment when it was sliced in half by the platform.

After the crash, Schneider and Mitra say they immediately both went into "reporter mode," filing stories for Newsday.

Mitra says he never takes the train but his car had broken down. He says he's lucky to be unharmed.

Officials say a total of seven passengers on the westbound train were taken to Nassau University Medical Center, some with internal bleeding and spinal injuries. Three patients, including the engineer, were admitted. Officials also say a 15-year-old girl was taken to Winthrop Hospital. All are expected to survive.

Read more:
Police: Vehicle in deadly train collision may have been fleeing prior crash
Cleanup, repairs from deadly train crash could continue into next week
MTA, LIRR: 7 incidents at rail crossing in 2018

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