A Chicago commuter train collided with rail equipment Thursday morning, injuring at least 38 people, three of them critically, fire officials said.
The Chicago Fire Department said a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train crashed into snow-removal equipment at approximately 10:35 a.m. near the Howard CTA station.
The Yellow Line train was carrying 31 commuters, including four children, when it collided with the rail equipment.
“We get on the scene we had 31 civilians and seven CTA personnel involved in the incident. We changed out all the tracks, made sure the power was off, evacuated all the civilians to EMS,” Robert Jurewicz, the Chicago Fire Department’s second district chief said.
Authorities said 23 people were taken to area hospitals and three of those injured were in critical condition, although no one suffered life-threatening injuries, said Keith Gray, assistant deputy chief paramedic.
The victim’s ages ranged between 2-years-old and 75-years-old.
The train’s operator was among the most seriously hurt, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Alderwoman Maria Hadden said the conductor may have experienced a medical emergency just prior to the crash, but police and fire officials have not confirmed that.
Images from the aftermath of the collision showed emergency responders hard at work assessing passengers and beginning to bandage those who were injured.
Keith Gray, assistant deputy chief paramedic, said that EMS had trouble assessing the injured passengers due to the steep terrain.
“Had a little trouble getting down to the train due to the terrain and the downhill. When I arrived on the scene, we had the fire companies and the EMS companies in the train engines triaging and beginning to move the patients from the train,” Gray said.
At least 15 ambulances were dispatched to the scene. Gray said 15 people refused medical attention at the scene.
Shayla Smith, who was headed to work in Wilmette, had just boarded a Purple Line train at Howard when she heard the collision. She said passengers on her train began screaming, and she saw an elderly woman nearly fall out of her seat.
“I just heard like a horrible boom sound,” Smith told the Sun-Times. “It was like a weird boom sound. It felt like we’re gonna tip over, and I was wondering what is going on? My body shivered.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker posted on X following the collision, thanking first responders.
“My administration is closely monitoring the train derailment on the North Side and will direct any available resources needed. Thank you to the CFD firefighters and first responders on the scene,” Pritzker said.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson released a statement, saying that they are closing monitoring the situation.
“Just before 10:45 a.m., a two-car Skokie Swift train traveling southbound encountered a CTA snow removal vehicle traveling in the same direction. They subsequently collided, resulting in 38 injuries, 23 of which were transported to the hospital. Three patients were transported in serious condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
Our thoughts are with all affected, and we are grateful for our brave first responders on the scene. We are working closely with emergency services as we continue to monitor this incident.”
CTA officials said the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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