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New York train derailment leaves at least 4 dead

  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

    Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

    Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

  • First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013  The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013 The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013  The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013 The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • First responders gather at the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013  The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    First responders gather at the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013 The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • Passenger cars are on their side after a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx on Sunday morning, Dec. 1, 2013 causing "multiple injuries," authorities said. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    Passenger cars are on their side after a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx on Sunday morning, Dec. 1, 2013 causing "multiple injuries," authorities said. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • A New York Fire Department boat approaches the scene of a Metro-North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The train derailed on a curved section of track early Sunday morning, causing "multiple injuries," authorities said.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    A New York Fire Department boat approaches the scene of a Metro-North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The train derailed on a curved section of track early Sunday morning, causing "multiple injuries," authorities said. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx borough of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

    Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx borough of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

    Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)
  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)
  • First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013  The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • First responders gather around the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013  The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • First responders gather at the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Dec. 1, 2013  The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • Passenger cars are on their side after a Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx on Sunday morning, Dec. 1, 2013 causing "multiple injuries," authorities said. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • A New York Fire Department boat approaches the scene of a Metro-North passenger train in the Bronx borough of New York Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The train derailed on a curved section of track early Sunday morning, causing "multiple injuries," authorities said.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx borough of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)
  • Cars from a Metro-North passenger train are scattered after the train derailed in the Bronx neighborhood of New York, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in the  train derailment, and 130 firefighters are on the scene. Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say the train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station. (AP Photo/Edwin Valero)

A New York City commuter train rounding a riverside curve derailed and came to rest only inches from the water yesterday, killing four people, injuring more than 60 and sending a chain of toppled cars shaped like a backward question mark trailing off the track, authorities said.

Some of the 100 to 150 passengers on the early morning Metro-North train from suburban Poughkeepsie to Manhattan were jolted awake about 7:20 a.m. to screams and the frightening sensation of their compartment rolling over on a bend where the Hudson and Harlem rivers meet in the Bronx. When the motion stopped, four or five of the seven cars were off the rails in the latest, and deadliest, example of this year’s troubles for the nation’s second-biggest commuter railroad.

“Four people lost their lives today in the holiday season, right after Thanksgiving,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference.

Eleven of the injured were believed to be critical and six were seriously hurt, according to the fire department. The train operator was among the injured, Cuomo said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was en route to investigate, and Cuomo would not speculate about the causes of the crash until the federal agency issued its findings. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas Prendergast said investigators would look at factors including the train, the track and signal system, the train operators, and speed.

The big curve where the derailment occurred is in a slow-speed area. Several injured passengers told the Associated Press that the train seemed to be going too fast as it took the curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station.

MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the train’s data recorders should be able to tell how fast it was traveling.

Many of those aboard the train were probably headed to New York for holiday shopping.

Joel Zaritsky was dozing as he traveled to the city for a dental convention.

“I woke up when the car started rolling several times. Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming,” he told the AP, holding his bloody right hand. “There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train.”

Mike Gallo heard the crash as he was walking his dog. He looked down at the tracks and “knew it was a tragedy right away. I saw injured people climbing out of the train.”

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