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6 dead in New York City Metro-North commuter train accident in Valhalla

Posted at 8:00 PM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-04 12:00:05-05

Six people were killed after a commuter train traveling north from New York City struck a sport utility vehicle and burst into flames during rush hour Tuesday.

A woman from the SUV and five on the train were among the dead, Reuters reports. The incident occurred near the Westchester County hamlet of Valhalla, about 30 miles north of Grand Central Station.

About 650 people were likely on board the Metro-North train, according to The Associated Press. More than a dozen people were injured, 10 of them seriously. Hundreds were forced to evacuate.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the train, which was located on the tracks between the crossing gates, pushed the SUV about 400 feet and the explosion caused the third rail of the track to go through the front train car.

The National Transportation Safety Board was preparing to investigate the crash Wednesday morning. New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority indicated riders should expect delays and crowded trains on the Harlem line Wednesday.

According to The New York Times, preliminary information indicated that the gates at the crossing came down on top of the S.U.V., which had stopped on the tracks. The driver got out of the vehicle to look at the rear of the car, then got back in and drove forward. Then the vehicle was struck.

Tuesday's crash is the deadliest in Metro-North's history. Metro-North is the second largest commuter railroad in the United States, with annual ridership of more than 80 million. A December 2013 derailment killed four Metro-North passengers and injured more than 60.

The video below was posted to social media immediately following the crash:

Gavin Stern and Katie Leone are national digital producers for the Scripps National Desk.