Update, June 23, 1:31 p.m. One of the trauma patients admitted to GW Hospital last night is being discharged, said Heather Oldham, a spokeswoman for the hospital. Both patients are now in stable condition, but Oldham said she had no information about when the second patient will be discharged from the hospital. The 24 patients suffering from minor injuries arrived both by bus and as walk-ins, Oldham said. They were treated last night, but not admitted to the hospital.
There have been nine fatalities reported thus far as a result of the collision.
Update 11:44 p.m. A statement from University President Steven Knapp was posted to the campus advisories Web site Monday night.
By now most of you are aware of today’s tragic accident on the Metro’s Red Line, which occurred during the evening rush hour. First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. I want to thank our GW hospital staff and volunteers for their hard work in treating the injured. We know that a number of our staff, students and faculty members use the Red Line to get to our campus and will be affected by today’s collision. All classes and Colonial Inauguration events tomorrow (Tuesday, June 23) will go forward as scheduled, but for those who are experiencing difficulties in getting to campus on time, we will grant liberal leave (in the case of staff) and other appropriate accommodations. Thank you.
Update 9:35 p.m. Nearly 30 injured passengers were brought to GW Hospital after the collision, said Nicole Pokryfka, a spokeswoman for the hospital. Twenty-four patients with minor injuries including bruises and lacerations were brought in from the scene by bus. They are still in the process of being evaluated, but were given green bracelets to indicate minor injury.
An additional two passengers were brought to the hospital by ambulance. Those patients suffered from more severe injuries, including loss of consciousness, and were listed as trauma patients. Pokryfka said they have both since regained consciousness and are in serious but stable condition.
Update 8:33 p.m. Two more passengers have been confirmed dead, bringing the total number of fatalities to six. Six additional passengers are in critical condition at area hospitals.
ABC 7 has reported that some individuals have been brought to GW Hospital for treatment but public affairs and media relations representatives were not immediately available for comment.
Robert Thomson of The Washington Post’s transportation blog had some interesting commentary on the collision:
For many of us who have covered Metro, this crash is mystifying. The stretch of track on the Red Line between Takoma and Fort Totten is one of the straightest and most wide open in the Metrorail system. You’re above ground all the way. The terrain is flat. The weather this afternoon was fine.
It’s one of the biggest distances between stations in the system. Trains can get going quite fast there, compared to other segments of track.
This was a rear end collision. Metro has many systems designed to stop a collision, whether the trains are being operated automatically, or are under the control of the train operator in the front cab.
Update 7:20 p.m. Four people died and 70 were injured in a collision between two Red Line trains around 5 p.m. Monday, emergency and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials confirmed.
The trains collided on the same track between the Red Line’s Takoma and Fort Totten stations in northeast D.C. Currently, the WMATA Web site is reporting delays on all lines. People are advised to avoid the Red Line for the rest of the day.
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said he believed Monday’s collision is the deadliest accident in the history of the Metrorail system.
WMATA General Manager John Catoe said in a news conference that one train had been stopped when another train, running in the same direction, hit the stopped car “for reasons we do not know.” The operator of the second train was one of the four who died in the collision, Catoe said.
“We don’t know what happened but we will find out what happened and fix what happened,” Catoe said, adding that an investigation will be performed.
A GW Hospital spokeswoman said the emergency room had not received injured Metrorail riders as of 6 p.m.
Gabrielle Bluestone contributed to this report.