By midday Wednesday, officials were still scrambling to account for all of the passengers in the Philadelphia Amtrak derailment accident. Those who came out of the train told a harrowing tale of twisted metal, flying objects, and bloodshed.
“Everything was normal,” passenger Daniel Wetrin, 37 of New York, told CNN. “Then it was chaos.”
Jeremy Wladis, 51 of New York, was another passenger on the train. He said that things started flying from phones, laptops, to people. “There were two people in the luggage rack above my head. Two women catapulted (there).”
Ede Sincovics, 44, an artist in residence in Trenton, said he was hit in the chest and leg when the train dislodged from the force of the impact. “Other people, they had broken mouth, there was loud screaming,” he told Philly.com.
New Yorker Mary Barcellos was able to walk away from the train with one shoe missing. She said her train landed upside down, and jolted her to the window. The woman next to her had a broken leg, she told reporters.
Max Helfman, 19, of Watchung, N.J. was on the train with his mother when the accident occurred. He told the media that people were thrown to the ground and “chairs inside the train became unscrewed and suitcases were falling on people.” He said he might have some scratches and a concussion, but his mother was hospitalized for possible broken ribs.
“People were bleeding from their head. It was awful,” Helfman told reporters.
Janelle Richards, an associate producer for NBC Nightly News, was in one of the cars that did not flip over on its side. She was able to escape through the train’s rear door. She was waiting to be transported to the Hahnemann University Hospital with lower back pain.
“Immediately after the crash, I looked to my left and there was a woman in the aisle and she had blood streaming down her face,” Richards told the New York Times. “She was lying on the floor.”
Associated Press manager Paul Cheung told reporters it all happened “in a flash second.” He managed to escape from the back of the train car. “The front of the train is really mangled,” he said. “It’s a complete wreck. The whole thing is like a pile of metal.”
Passenger Jillian Jorgensen, 27, who covers politics for the New York Observer, said she was thrown from her aisle seat across the train when it turned onto its side. “People were yelling. I was yelling. Time slows down. You see what’s happening, but there is nothing you can really do.”
The attorneys at Morgan Levine Dolan have represented many people injured in mass transit accidents. During the early stages of the investigation, it is imperative to get private attorneys involved in the process. Too many times, the mass transit carrier performs the investigation and many pieces of evidence are either tampered with or ignored.