Metro-North Tragedy: Passenger Recounts Panic, Horror After Deadly Crash

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Christopher Gross was watching a Mel Brooks movie on his laptop during his commute Tuesday, sitting in the front car of the northbound Metro-North train, when he felt the impact.

Flames soon engulfed the train.

"I saw flames coming at me, about a foot from my head," Gross said this morning of the fatal accident involving the New York commuter train and an SUV, which resulted in six deaths and numerous injuries.

Many of the victims were commuters, with the ensuing fire magnified by an electrified third rail of the track buckling and piercing the train car where Gross, who was uninjured, was sitting.

PHOTO: Firefighters work the scene of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad passenger train and a vehicle in Valhalla, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2015. Frank Becerra, Jr./The Journal-News/AP Photo
Firefighters work the scene of a collision between a Metro-North Railroad passenger train and a vehicle in Valhalla, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2015.

A man sitting nearby screamed, Gross told ABC News of the Westchester County collision. The lower section of the man's leg was gone. Multiple passengers in Gross' train car died in the accident and aftermath, authorities said. Many others were seriously injured.

PHOTO: Passengers being evacuated from a Metro North train after it struck a car, sparking a fire, north of White Plains, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2015.@anabolicapple/Twitter
Passengers being evacuated from a Metro North train after it struck a car, sparking a fire, north of White Plains, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2015.

One injured man helped to lead fellow passengers out of the train car, Gross said.

"Both of his hands were burned, he elbowed the emergency exit latch and started to pull the door open," Gross said.

After the man exited the train, he stuck his hands in the snow, Gross said.

PHOTO: Passengers are assisted off a Metro-North Railroad passenger train in Valhalla, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2015. Albert Conte/The Journal News/AP Photo
Passengers are assisted off a Metro-North Railroad passenger train in Valhalla, N.Y., Feb. 3, 2015.

Gross didn't initially realize that the train had struck a vehicle.

"Neither the engineer or the conductor got over the speaker and said that we'd hit a car," he said. "I had no idea until I got off and turned around and saw a car."

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