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

Posted: Updated:

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

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."