Three people were killed on Tuesday evening when their truck was hit by two passenger trains at a railway crossing in the U.S. state of New York, local authorities said.
The vehicle was trying to beat the safety gates at a crossing of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) when it got struck by an eastbound passenger train that just left the platform at the Westbury station, some 30 miles (48 km) to the east of New York City, around 7:30 p.m. (0030 GMT Wednesday). It was then hit again by a westbound passenger train running at a higher speed, according to the police.
The incident took place on the LIRR route linking Ronkonkoma to Manhattan's Penn Station.
Part of the westbound train went off the rails and crushed onto the platform, according to pictures and TV footages from the scene that have been posted online.
Some 1,000 passengers on both trains involved in the collision were evacuated, and several of them were taken to a nearby hospital with nonfatal injuries, local media reported.
Services in both directions on the impacted LIRR route have been suspended. The LIRR said on its Twitter account that police and emergency personnel arrived at the scene shortly after the incident, and that passengers were advised to take alternate branches on the railroad to reach their destinations.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo mourned over the tragedy via his Twitter account on Tuesday night. "My heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones," he tweeted, also calling for a full investigation into the incident.
The LIRR is one of the busiest commuter railroads in North America, linking New York City with Long Island in the southeastern part of New York State.