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Indian among train accident victims in New York suburb

February 05, 2015 12:33 IST

A 41-year-old India-born man is among the six victims of the horrific accident in a New York suburb in which a crowded commuter train rammed into a sport utility vehicle stalled on the tracks and caught fire.

Members of the NTSB and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials observe the damaged car of a commuter train the morning after it struck a vehicle in Mount Pleasant, near Valhalla, New York. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/ Reuters

Aditya Tomar has been identified as a victim of the crash between a Metro-North train and the SUV on Tuesday evening.

Tomar, who was born in India, lived in Danbury, Connecticut, worked at financial giant JP Morgan in Manhattan.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino called him to notify that Tomar had been killed in the accident.

A crowded New York commuter train struck a car near suburban White Plains during Tuesday evening's rush hour, sparking an explosion and a fire that killed seven people, officials said. Photograph: Mike Segar/ Reuters

Boughton said he spoke with Tomar's wife to express condolence on behalf of the city and to offer assistance to the family.

He said Tomar's family has asked for privacy.

"Understandably, they need some time to grieve and mourn the loss of their loved one," Boughton said.

Read more: Train smashes into car in New York, kills 6

A report in the Danbury News Times quoted Tomar's mother-law Dee Persaud as saying that he had lived in Danbury with his wife Reshma.

The couple did not have children.

"We are just shocked and grieving at the moment," she was quoted as saying.

Emergency workers stand near a burned out MTA Metro North Railroad commuter train that hit at least one car. Photograph: Mike Segar/ Reuters

The accident was the deadliest crash in the history of Metro-North, the second busiest US commuter railroad.

The Metro-North train had departed from the busy Grand Central Station in Manhattan at 5.45 in the evening and had rammed into a car on the tracks in Valhalla, a suburb of New York City, killing six people and injuring 15 others.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that the gates at the railway crossing came down on top of the car, which was stopped on the tracks.

A MTA official inspects the damaged car of a commuter train the morning after it struck a vehicle in Mount Pleasant, near Valhalla, New York killing six people and injuring a dozen. Photograph: Adrees Latif/ Reuters

The woman who was driving the car got out to look at the rear of the car, came back in and was struck by the approaching train as she drove forward.

She has been identified as Ellen Brody, 49, a married mother of three.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials point at the damaged car of a commuter train the morning after it struck a vehicle in Mount Pleasant, near Valhalla, New York. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/ Reuters

The other victims of the crash are -- financial executive Eric Vandercar, 53, curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Walter Liedtke, 69, research scientist Robert Dirks, 36 and Joseph Nadol.

Investigators said the biggest question they are looking into is why the car was on the tracks in the first place.

Workers attempt to release the vehicle that was struck by a commuter train from the tracks in Mount Pleasant, New York. Federal investigators said on Wednesday they were evaluating the "adequacy" of emergency exits and strength of cars on a commuter train that collided with an SUV a day earlier, killing six people. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/ Reuters

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said during a news conference that a variety of factors are being looked at, including the electrified third rail, the crossing signal system and emergency exits.

The NTSB, the Federal Railroad Administration and the MTA have launched investigations into the accident.

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