Health News

Sleep Apnea May Have Played A Role In Hoboken Train Crash

Photo from Wikipedia

The train crash that occurred at the Hoboken Terminal on September 29 may have been caused by undiagnosed sleep apnea in the conductor, officials state. The crash killed 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, who was standing on the platform and got hit with debris.

According to the Associated Press, two United States officials who were briefed on the investigation reported that the possibility of the conductor suffering from sleep apnea might have played a role in the accident.

Thomas Gallagher, 48, was operating the train at the time. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea after the crash, USA Today reports. Gallagher did not respond to requests for comments.

Sleep apnea gives its victims less hours of sleep, as it can keep waking them when the airway closes enough to stop breathing. This, in turn, heightens sleepiness during the day.

New Jersey Transit confirmed that it does have a screening program for sleep apnea, but added that it is “is not authorized to discuss any employee’s medical or personal information.”

Senator Bob Menendez, who was briefed by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration on the matter, released a statement saying,

It’s imperative that New Jersey Transit riders have full transparency into the safety of the transit system they rely upon and that elected officials have a clear picture of the safety challenges the agency is facing.

Gallagher, who has been an NJ Transit engineer for 18 years, told authorities that he had no recollection of the crash, and only remembered waking up on the floor of the engineer’s cab. He was rescued from the train wreck and brought to a hospital for treatment.

The train’s throttle suddenly jumped from idle to the fourth position, increasing speed to 21 miles per hour, just 38 seconds before it made impact. The throttle returned to idle, and Gallagher hit the emergency brake before the train crashed into a bumper at the end of the track.

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - Get Important Content Like This Delivered Directly To You

Get important content and more delivered to you once or twice a week.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.