Transcript for Survivors Recall Chaos Onboard Metro-North Train
A commuter train with hundreds on board, colliding with an SUV, driven by a young mother. The SUV and the train exploding into flames. These are the moments right after. Tonight, federal authorities have just revealed that 400 feet of electrified rail pierced the rail car, breaking into the train with passengers inside. Moments after impact, this cell phone footage showing firefighters going in, passengering trying to get out. Not everyone survived this. The thick black smoke engulfing the train. The heat so intense, the windows melting. And from ail above, you can see what was left of the SUV. The young mother did not survive. Tonight, at least six dead and the major question, why was that SUV on the tracks? ABC's linsey Davis on the scene tonight, leadings off. Reporter: Tonight, a crane in place to remove the wreckage of that car. The charred aftermath of what started out as any other come mute home after a long day's work. The train departing from Manhattan's grand central terminal yesterday at 5:44 P.M. Explosion on the tracks. Reporter: 45 minutes into the trip, disaster. The train rolling down the tracks at 58 miles per hour, approaching a railroad crossing. Just at that moment, a black SUV tries to cross but the gate comes down, stopping it. The train, unable to slow down, keeps coming. Ellen Brody, a mother of three, behind the wheel of that SUV. Rick hope just behind her on the road. The gate came down and hit the back of the car in front of me. She was trying to make it to the other side. Reporter: But she didn't make it. The train hit her SUV, pushing it 10,000 feet, bursting into flames. The electrified third rail ripped from the ground, piercing the train itself. About 400 feet of this third rail was shoved into mostly the first rail car but at least one piece penetrated over into the second rail car. Reporter: Chris gross was riding in the first train car. I was jolted out of my seat. Reporter: And then what? Flames. I saw people behind me in the car falling over each other. Reporter: Smoke pours out of the train. The fire so hot, the windows melted. Inside, chaos. The moment after impact, kind of set the scene. People were yelling for a fire extinguisher, call 911. Lot of yelling. Lot of screaming. Reporter: Further back in the train, confusion, but no panic. Passengers waiting patiently until someone opens a door for them to escape. Today, that SUV, barely recognizable. Investigators pouring over the tracks. The conductor miraculously survived, but five men riding on that train died. Among them, Eric vander car and water Liedtke. And so did Ellen Brody on her SUV. Why she drove out onto the tracks and couldn't get away, tonight, still a mystery. And linsey is live on the scene tonight. Back to that report. We now learned 400 feet of electrified rail pierced the inside of the train? Reporter: That's right, David. That's a major focus of the investigation at this point. And it gives you an idea of how horrifying it must have been for those passengers on board that train. All right, linsey Davis leading us off tonight. Thank you.
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