All six people killed in New York City suburb train crash died from 'burns and blunt force trauma' reveals medical examiner 

  • Medical examiners report released on Tuesday into last weeks MTA Metro-North crash
  • Report did not reveal if the initial collision caused the blunt-force injuries or the third rail which pierced the carriage
  • The NTSB will use a seating diagram for their comprehensive findings which are not due for months
  • Six people died - five passengers and the SUV driver - in Tuesday night's collision during the evening commute in Valhalla, New York 
  • Mother-of-three Ellen Brody, 49, Morgan Stanley employee Aditya Tomar, 41, banker Eric Vandercar, 53, Met museum art curator Walter Liedtke, 69, research scientist Robert Dirks, 36, and Joseph B. Nadol, 42, of Ossining were all killed in the crash

All six of the people killed in a railroad crossing collision between a commuter train and an SUV in New York City's suburbs suffered blunt-force injuries and burns, a medical examiner announced on Tuesday.

A brief statement released by Westchester County did not specify the cause of death for any of the victims. 

It also did not specify whether the blunt-force injuries were caused by the impact inside the train on the tracks or by the pieces of third rail that speared into both vehicles during the February 3 accident.

Scroll Down for Video 

Blunt force trauma and burns were the cause of death: Six people - five passengers and the driver of the vehicle - died when a Metro-North train hit an SUV which had stopped on the tracks during the evening rush hour, 30 minutes outside of New York City

Blunt force trauma and burns were the cause of death: Six people - five passengers and the driver of the vehicle - died when a Metro-North train hit an SUV which had stopped on the tracks during the evening rush hour, 30 minutes outside of New York City

The collision killed five men on a Metro-North evening commuter train and a mother-of-three, Ellen Brody, 49, whose Mercedes SUV was hit by the train at a grade crossing in Valhalla. 

Morgan Stanley employee Aditya Tomar, 41, banker Eric Vandercar, 53, Met museum art curator Walter Liedtke, 69, research scientist Robert Dirks, 36, and Joseph B. Nadol, 42, of Ossining were also killed in the crash

A fire erupted, apparently fueled by the SUV's gasoline, and 12 sections of the railroad's electrified rail pierced the SUV and the train car.

The findings were based on autopsies conducted by the office of the county medical examiner, Dr. Kunjlata Ashar, the county said. 

The statement said Ashar's final report and conclusions will not be completed until the National Transportation Safety Board finishes its investigation several months from now.

Terrifying: The true horror of the New York train crash was revealed in the investigators' photographs which showed parts of the carriage burned beyond recognition 

Terrifying: The true horror of the New York train crash was revealed in the investigators' photographs which showed parts of the carriage burned beyond recognition 

Investigation begins: An NTSB worker on Thursday examined the burned-out shell of the Metro-North train which was involved in Tuesday's crash in Valhalla, New York

Investigation begins: An NTSB worker on Thursday examined the burned-out shell of the Metro-North train which was involved in Tuesday's crash in Valhalla, New York

Report could take months: A federal investigator examines a section of the first carriage which was now a wreck of twisted metal. Preliminary findings revealed the train was traveling below the speed limit and the barrier signals were working correctly

Report could take months: A federal investigator examines a section of the first carriage which was now a wreck of twisted metal. Preliminary findings revealed the train was traveling below the speed limit and the barrier signals were working correctly

Married mother-of-three Ellen Brody was identified as the driver of an SUV which was hit by a train on Tuesday in Valhalla, New York when she stopped her vehicle on the tracks. She and five others died in the horrific collision
Aditya Tomar, 41, also died

Accident: Married mother-of-three Ellen Brody was identified as the driver of an SUV which was hit by a train on Tuesday in Valhalla, New York when she stopped her vehicle on the tracks. Morgan Stanley employee Aditya Tomar, 41, also died

The train, braking hard, hit the SUV at 48 mph and traveled about 1,000 feet before coming to a stop, the NTSB said. 

The third rail penetrated the Mercedes SUV and then the first car of the train, breaking into its 39-foot sections and 'coming in, in, in, in,' U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Friday. 

He added that seeing inside the burned-out rail car was 'like looking into a coffin.'

The NTSB said it would use information from the autopsies and from surviving passengers' injuries, coupled with a diagram of where people were sitting, to try to determine how people were killed.

The NTSB is also asking questions about whether Metro-North's unusual third-rail arrangement, which involves taking power from the bottom of the rail, led to the splintering of the rail, which investigators said they had never seen before.

Another key question is why the SUV driver, Ellen Brody, was in the path of the train. A witness said her car was hit by the dropping crossing gate and she then drove forward and was hit by the train. 

The NTSB has said the crossing gates and lights were working properly.

Last week the first images from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation showed the blackened shell of the engineer's booth at the front of the train, the outside a wreck of twisted metal. The interior of the first carriage was scorched and in parts burned beyond recognition.

Preliminary findings revealed that the driver Ellen Brody, 49, was on the tracks for about 30 seconds in her Mercedes SUV before the train impacted.

Walter Liedtke
Eric Vandercar

Perished: banker Metropolitan Museum art curator Walter Liedtke, 69, (left) died in the crash as did banker Eric Vandercar, 53

Robert Dirks
Joseph B. Nadol

Tragedy on the commute: Research scientist Robert Dirks, 36, (left) and Joseph B. Nadol, 42, of Ossining were also killed in the crash

The driver of the vehicle behind the Mercedes told NTSB investigators on Thursday that traffic was 'edging along' at the railway crossing in Valhalla, an affluent town north of New York City, Robert Sumwalt, an NTSB member, said at a news conference.

The Mercedes came to a stop on the crossing, Sumwalt said. The barrier descended on its rear window.

The crossing warning lights began flashing and sirens started to ring out, and the driver behind her described reversing to make room for her to retreat, gesturing with his hands, Sumwalt said.

The Mercedes came to a stop on the crossing, Sumwalt said. The barrier descended on its rear window.

The crossing warning lights began flashing and sirens started to ring out, and the driver behind her described reversing to make room for her to retreat, gesturing with his hands, Sumwalt said.

Instead, he watched as Mrs Brody, a married mother-of-three who worked in a local jewelry shop, got out of the Mercedes and inspected the barrier without moving it before getting back into the driver's seat.

The Mercedes SUV was skewered by the electrified 'third' rail of the tracks after the train impacted on Tuesday evening 

The Mercedes SUV was skewered by the electrified 'third' rail of the tracks after the train impacted on Tuesday evening 

Recovery: Workers prepare for a crane to lift the crushed SUV from the front of a Metro-North commuter train last week

Recovery: Workers prepare for a crane to lift the crushed SUV from the front of a Metro-North commuter train on Wednesday

'Then she sat in the vehicle,' Sumwalt said. 'He described it as if she had enough time to put on her seatbelt.'

Investigators also interviewed the engineer on Thursday who was driving the crowded rush-hour train. He told them that he spotted the Mercedes ahead of him, Sumwalt said.

The engineer deployed the train's emergency brake, and the train's horn blew again for four seconds. Meanwhile, the driver behind the Mercedes watched as Brody 'suddenly pulled forward,' Sumwalt said.

'As she did so, the train struck the car,' Sumwalt said.

The train crossing of the Metro-North line in Westchester County, New York. Investigators were seeking SUV driver Ellen Brody's records and trying to figure out how familiar she was with the route and her vehicle

The train crossing of the Metro-North line in Westchester County, New York. Investigators were seeking SUV driver Ellen Brody's records and trying to figure out how familiar she was with the route and her vehicle

In this aerial photo, personnel from various agencies work the scene of a deadly SUV and commuter train accident in Valhalla, around 30 miles from New York City

In this aerial photo, personnel from various agencies work the scene of a deadly SUV and commuter train accident in Valhalla, around 30 miles from New York City

The train, pushing the Mercedes down the track, took nearly 30 seconds and 950 feet before coming to a stop after the emergency brake was activated, Sumwalt.

Long pieces of electrified 'third' rail skewered the Mercedes and pierced the first two train carriages as a gasoline-fueled fire erupted. Passengers riding the train's rear remained oblivious to the carnage unfolding ahead of them.

Sumwalt said his team were seeking Mrs Brody's records and trying to figure out how familiar she was with the route and her Mercedes.

The crash is the deadliest rail accident in the New York area in more than three decades. It was the latest in a string of accidents to unnerve commuters on the country's second-largest commuter railroad.

 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now