New York City Train Crash Victims Mourned

NY-CS365_VICTIM_G_20131201203844The four people killed in Sunday morning’s Metro-North crash included a sound technician for NBC’s “Today” show, a tax preparer from Newburgh, N.Y., and a nurse from Queens, according to people who knew them.

James Lovell, 58 years old, was an audio technician who frequently worked on “Today” and other programs, and was headed to New York Sunday morning to work on preparations for the televised Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting, NBC said.

“He was not only a skilled technician but also one of the nicest guys you ever met,” “Today” executive producer Don Nash said in an email to staff.

Mr. Lovell was a local history buff who had survived cancer and open-heart surgery, said Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea, a longtime friend. He was married to Philipstown Councilwoman Nancy Montgomery, according to Mr. Shea.

The family lives on a lake in Cold Spring, and Mr. Lovell would “do back flips off the diving board with his boys, hiking with his boys, doing whatever they wanted,” Mr. Shea said. “He was one of the boys.”

Mr. Lovell was working on a book about military history. He took his battle with cancer and his open-heart surgery in stride, “like he took everything,” Mr. Shea said. “He never made a big deal of anything. He just kept going.”
Mr. Lovell’s family declined to comment.

Officials identified the other victims as James Ferrari, 59, of Montrose, N.Y.; Donna Smith, 54, of Newburgh, N.Y., and Kisook Ahn, 35, of Woodside, Queens.

A woman who answered the phone at Mr. Ferrari’s home said: “We’re very upset, and his family’s just lost an incredible, incredible man. We have nothing to share besides the pain that his wife and daughter feel right now.”
A neighbor, Judy Snyder, said Mr. Ferrari worked long hours at his job. “He’s going to be missed terribly by everyone,” she said. “He was a very pleasant man who would wave and smile anytime you saw him.”
Ms. Ahn’s roommate, Jung Heejung, 28, said she worked as a nurse and worked the night shift. “She was really nice,” she said.
The families of Ms. Ahn and Ms. Smith couldn’t be reached for comment.
Lynn Davis, Ms. Smith’s next door neighbor, said she worked as a tax preparer and lived alone. “She was very friendly and she was always working on her house,” Ms. Davis said.
Among the more than 60 people injured were five off-duty NYPD officers, a man with a spinal injury and his 14-year-old son, who was treated and released, officials said.

As the Metro-North train derailed from the tracks and plowed toward an inlet near the Hudson River, passengers were tossed around inside, causing injuries ranging from lacerations to open fractures and head trauma, doctors said.
Some passengers were ejected, including a woman who died at the scene and was covered by another passenger with a yoga mat.

Eleven people were in critical condition late Sunday afternoon, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The injured included the train’s operator and two conductors.
A man in his 40s with a serious spinal injury at St. Barnabas Hospital was stable and awake, said Dr. Ernest Patti, senior attending physician of emergency medicine.
Maria Ojito, who said she was a family friend of the man with the spinal injury, said he was in surgery Sunday evening. He had been headed to New York with his 14-year-old son, who was treated at the hospital and released.
Passenger Allison Miller, 45 years old, said she heard the metal screeching and saw dirt and debris flying into the train as it flipped over.

“I thought we were going into the water,” said Ms. Miller, of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., who suffered bruises, scrapes and cuts as she was thrown into the side of the railcar. “Thank God that did not happen and I was able to get out alive.”
“Whenever I close my eyes, I can see it replaying in my mind,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll ever get on that train again.”
Five off-duty New York police officers were on the train, which derailed on a sharp curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station. Two were treated at the scene, two were taken to Montefiore Medical Center and one was treated for broken bones at St. Barnabas Hospital, where Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly visited her.
“She has serious injuries but she’s stable,” Dr. Patti said of the officer at St. Barnabas.
The injured were taken to at least five hospitals. Many arrived in shock, and some will likely suffer from post-traumatic stress, Dr. Patti said.

“This will be a trying thing for them to get back on the train, some of the folks,” he said.
—Alison Fox, Mike Vilensky, Pervaiz Shallwani and Mara Gay contributed to this article.

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