7 killed, 12 hurt when train smashes into car on tracks near New York City

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(CNN) — At least seven people died when a Metro North commuter train plowed into a vehicle on the tracks north of New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

A dozen people were injured, a rail official said.

Six of the people killed in the fiery crash were train passengers, and the seventh fatality was a female driver of a Jeep, the official said.

A Metro Transit Authority official said the collision happened about 7 p.m. when the gates at the two-track Commerce Street crossing near Valhalla came down on top of a Jeep Cherokee stopped on the tracks.

The driver got out to look at the rear of the vehicle, drove forward and was struck, the MTA official said. She was outside the vehicle when the train struck, the official said.

The 5:44 p.m. northbound train from Grand Central Terminal shoved the SUV about 10 car lengths north, the MTA official said.

Photos of the scene and areal video from CNN affiliate WCBS showed flames and smoke pouring out windows of the commuter train.

A passenger, Justin Kaback, told CNN that people on his car didn’t panic and exited in an orderly manner. Getting out of the car was difficult because it was so high and snow was on the ground, he said.

MTA said the riders evacuated themselves. About 400 commuters were taken to a rock-climbing gym for shelter, the train company official said. Buses were en route there to get to them to Pleasantville.

Twelve people were taken to Westchester Medical Center. Their condition was not immediately known.

The MTA website said Harlem Line service is temporarily suspended between North White Plains and Pleasantville because of the collision.

Shuttle train service is operating between Grand Central Terminal and North White Plains and between Pleasantville and Brewster.

Limited shuttle bus service is operating between North White Plains and Pleasantville, the website said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office tweeted that he was heading toward the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that the agency was sending a “go team” to investigate the crash.

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