“I heard a boom and when I got off the train, the train was all the way up the escalator. It’s a wreck,” Denise Adams, a rider, told the Chicago Tribune. “It was a lot of panic because it was hard to get people off the train.”
The train derailed around 2:50 a.m. CT as it was pulling into the O’Hare station, Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said. Six people were listed in fair condition and 26 in good condition at three area hospitals, according to fire officials.
As a part of standard procedure, the train operator will be taken in for drug and alcohol testing, said Robert Kelly, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, which represents CTA operators. Sources report that the train operator was walking and talking after the crash. She suffered minor injuries to her leg.
CTA officials are working to find the possible cause of the accident. “We will be looking at everything — equipment, signals, the human factor,” Steele said. The CTA was in the process of rehauling the Blue Train in a four-year $492 million earlier this month.
The Blue Line Service train remains at the top of the escalator which will cause disruptions for commuters being transported from O’Hare to the next station on the line. The front of the train can still be seen near the top of the escalator.
Chicago Transit Authority spokesman Brian Steele said workers may have to cut up the car and remove it piece by piece, which could take 12 to 24 hours. Afterward, officials will have to reassess the damage and make repairs before any other trains can use the station.
The National Transportation Safety Board also will investigate the crash.