Deadly Train Derailment on Metro North Railroad Creates Commuter Nightmare

Commuter train on busy holiday weekend slips off tracks, rolls over, leaving at least four dead.
3:00 | 12/01/13

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Transcript for Deadly Train Derailment on Metro North Railroad Creates Commuter Nightmare
As you can see, it was a terrifying sunday for passengers onboard this train, just outside new york city when it came barrelling off the tracks. You can see some of the train cars just barely missing the river. Not everyone surviving this crash. The injured rushed to new york hospitals. And take a look at this tonight. Video coming in tonight, shot by a passenger from another train. One of the first to drive by the accident site. You can see the top of the cars there. Some of those train cars rolling over, windows smashing, passengers thrown from their seats. First responders rushing to the scene, searching for survivors. Some climbing out of the wreckage themselves. Emergency teams carrying some of the bodies out. And quickly getting to the injured. Some of them critical. They had almost made it to where they were going, grand central station. The train accident just outside manhattan. And that's where we begin with abc's gio benitez on the scene for us tonight. Reporter: Tonight, as the mangled commuter train sits just feet from the river, the search for clues is on. What caused this morning's dramatic derailment that killed four and injured more than 60 others? That video from a passing train showing those cars on their sides. By the time I looked up, it was completely going off its track and the rubble from under the tracks, like, flying at my face. Reporter: Survivors say many passengers were asleep when the crash happened. Like ryan kelly, who fractured his hand. It was the speed of the car when I kind of woke up and felt it tilting a little bit. By the time I realized what was going on, everyone was getting thrown around. Reporter: Everyone around you, were they okay? Everyone in my car was all right, except for one woman, pinned between two seats. Reporter: It was 5:54 a.M. The metro north express train left for new york's grand central terminal. At 7:20 a.M., Traveling southbound, the train approached a large curve, and that's when it derailed. Train's pretty beat up. The train flipped to some degree. Some of them righted themselves after they flipped. But there was substantial damage inside. Reporter: Passengers describe the train as speeding at the curve. Though, we don't yet know if it was going faster than usual. Our mission is to understand not just what happened, but why it happened. With the intent of preventing it from happening again. Reporter: Multiple reports suggest the train operator tried to apply the brakes, but they did not work. Officials have not confirmed that. New york governor andrew cuomo touring the scene of the crash, tweeting this photo. I want to thank all the first responders who have been heroic all day long. Reporter: Police commissioner ray kelly right there, too, as all those people were rushed to the hospital. For people who use the train every day, what do you say to them? The systems are safe. Just based on sheer volume, sometimes accidents happen. But in terms of the specific cause here, that's going have to be determined by a full investigation. So many passengers that ride those rails looking for reassurance. Gio, federal investigators still at the scene? Reporter: That's rishgts david. You can see them down there right now, searching for clues. By the way, david, overnight, cranes will be moving in to start clearing that wreckage. Bringing in the large crane. Guillo gio, thank you. Neighbors describing the crunch, the screeching when that train went off the tracks today. Here's just some of what we heard today. It woke me up. I heard it from on the top of the hill. And I come down here, it's devastating. I just heard, like, a screeching noise, you know? Like a subway car, like that. And then, within seconds, the ambulance and the fire trucks started coming past my window and I knew something big happened. A big boom. It woke me, so -- this is a bad curve. Definitely. People lying down in the -- on the ground, dead. They just came home from just being with family for their thanksgiving and now they're just dead. It's just so sad. It's just so sad. Just some of what they saw and heard outside new york city this morning. Much more on "gma" first thing in the morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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