Workers are seen on the tracks of the Metro-North train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York December 3, 2013. The driver of a New York commuter train that derailed on Sunday, killing four people, told investigators he "lost focus" and went into a daze shortly before the crash, according to a law-enforcement source. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
A Metro North train bound for New York City derailed along the Hudson River early Sunday, killing four people and injuring 63, officials said.
The train was en route to New York's Grand Central Station from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., when it derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx.
It's unclear how many passengers were on board the train when it derailed. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the train's operator was among those injured.
"It's obviously a very tragic situation," Cuomo said. "The first order of business is to care for the people on the train."
Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said that the derailment occurred at approximately 7:20 a.m. Five of the train's seven cars derailed, he said, but none went into the water.
The MTA identified the victims as 54-year-old Donna L. Smith of Newburgh; 58-year-old James G. Lovell of Cold Spring; 59-year-old James M. Ferrari of Montrose; and 35-year-old Ahn Kisook of Queens.
Three of the four people who died were found outside the train, the FDNY said. Scuba divers were dispatched to search the river near the derailed train.
"If this was a workday, it was fully occupied, it would've been a tremendous disaster," Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano told reporters.
According to the MTA, the train left Poughkeepsie at approximately 5:54 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive at Grand Central at 7:43 a.m. Service has been suspended indefinitely on the Hudson Line between Grand Central and Croton Harmon.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the accident Sunday, the White House said.
Joel Zaritsky, a passenger who was on board the train, said he was asleep when the train derailed.
"I was asleep and I woke up when the car started rolling several times," Zaritsky told the AP. "Then I saw the gravel coming at me, and I heard people screaming. There was smoke everywhere and debris. People were thrown to the other side of the train."
Jack Babcock, another passenger, had a similar experience. "When I woke up, we were just flipping over," Babcock told Newsday. "Glass broke, and there were trees and dirt coming through the windows."
Aerial photos taken above the scene showed several train cars laying on their sides, and one near the water.
The train derailed about 100 feet north of the Spuyten Duyvil station.
In July, a freight train derailed near the same station. No one was injured in that incident.
In May, a Metro North train derailed in Fairfield, Conn., injuring 60 people, five of them critically.
The National Transportation Safety Board was en route to the scene to begin an investigation, Cuomo said. Officials will be investigating whether speed was a factor, the MTA said.