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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo) - "Obviously this is a commuter's worst nightmare," said Fairfield, Conn. Police Chief Gary MacNamara.
At least five people were critically injured - one of those very critically - and at least 60 people were transported to the hospital after a New York City-bound Metro-North Railroad commuter train derailed on the Bridgeport-Fairfield border in southern Connecticut during rush hour Friday, slamming head-on into a westbound train.
"It's pretty devastating damage to a number of cars. It's clear that these cars came into contact, ripped off at least a portion of siding of one of the cars, extensive damage in the front and the wheels from that system are sticking into the other train," Conn. Governor Dannel Malloy said.
Bridgeport, Conn. Mayor Bill Finch said, "It's a very disturbing site, we have significant damage to the train tracks, I'm not an engineer but it's likely that train traffic in and out of New York City will be discontinued for a significant amount of time."
Investigators say both trains were evacuated and what they're calling the "walking wounded" are still be evaluated -- but the good news is they don't believe any of the injuries are life-threatening.
While the focus now is on the injured passengers, police say they hope to be able to get to the bottom of why this major derailment happened.
"Two cars colliding takes quite a bit of an investigation to determine what happened, when you have two trains collide," said Fairfield, Connecticut Police Chief Gary MacNamara, "it's going to take us a little while to investigate to really determine what happened, how fast they were going and to determine the cause."
Governor Malloy said the NTSB is taking over the investigation, but local authorities will secure the site overnight and then assist the NTSB in anyway they can.
MTA Police Captain Jim McKenna said, "We're going to do a full investigation to see what exactly the cause of the accident is, we do have officers that traveled over to the hospital to get the condition on the patients, so we're going to go from there."
Governor Malloy says he's hopeful service for the affected portion of the track will be able to resume sometime on Monday.
But with the investigation still underway, Amtrak has indefinitely suspended service between New York and New Haven and says it will provide only limited service between Boston and New Haven.
He says as soon as the NTSB is finished with its investigation, the DOT commissioner will declare an emergency and they will begin re-laying the track immediately.
Officials say they are making arrangements for transportation so people can travel between the South Norwalk and Bridgeport stations until service is fully resumed.