At least 47 passengers were injured this afternoon when an L-Taraval train collided into the rear of a stopped K-Ingelside train on the platform of the West Portal station. MTA spokesperson Judson True said four of the injuries were "critical," including to the operator of the L train.
At least 20 ambulances arrived on the scene of the 2:45 p.m. crash and transported the more serious and "moderate" victims to a number of hospitals, and the less injured, or "walking wounded," were taken away in a shuttle bus. None of the injuries was reported to be life threatening.
Witnesses who spoke to KCBS radio said the operator of the L train may have been "slumped over" before the collision, but other witnesses reported seeing him wave his hands, according to the reports.
True said the West Portal station may remain shut down through the evening because it will take some time to remove the trains.
MTA Chief Nat Ford arrived on the scene along with investigators who will begin trying to piece together what led to the collision.
"One of the first things we'll do is take the witness statements that we can, work with the PD and the California Public Utilities Commission to get those witness statements, and obviously we will look at everything from mechanical issues, to human issues," True told reporters on the scene.
He said they will also examine whether the automatic train control system may have played a role in the crash. "There's a point where vehicles transition from ATCS to manual, so that'll be one of the things we look at in the investigation," he said.
Bryan Goebel is a reporter at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. A veteran journalist and writer, he helped launch Streetsblog SF in 2009 and served as editor for three years. He lives car-free in the Castro District.