GLENDALE, Calif. – Passengers on Metrolink (search) Train 100 heard a terrible rumbling. Then the lights suddenly flickered out, the floor tipped at a dangerous angle, and Tracy West went flying.
"I was flipping over people until I landed a couple of feet ahead and hit a cup-holder, armrest or something," said West, 38, of Los Angeles (search). "Then when it was over I saw that I was bleeding and had bruises all over."
West spoke as she was treated for a severe leg wound at a triage center set up in a parking lot for survivors of Wednesday's train crash.
At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured after the train headed from Moorpark to Los Angeles struck an SUV parked on the track. The train derailed and sideswiped another Metrolink train. The SUV's driver — a man authorities said was suicidal — survived.
Those who emerged from the trains said they had no idea what was happening as cars slid awkwardly and commuters who had been napping tumbled down the aisles.
"I heard a noise. It got louder and louder. And next thing I knew the train tilted, everyone was screaming and I held onto a pole for dear life," said Diane Brady, 56, of Simi Valley (search). "I held on for what seemed like a week and a half it seemed. It was a complete nightmare, like nothing I've experienced in my 6½ years of taking the Metrolink."
Transportation engineer Paul Konkirati, 28, of Burbank braced himself when the train began sliding, grabbing hold of a bar.
"We hit and then somebody's head landed on my thigh," said Konkirati, his jeans covered in blood as he stood near the scene of the accident. The bleeding woman told him over and over, "I can't move my head."
"I sat there and I tried to comfort her. I didn't know what else to do," Konkirati said. "Then it got really smoky, so smoky that I had to leave. I don't know what happened to her."
Hemlata Thomas, 67, of Chatsworth heard the roar of the crash and the screams of passengers around her. "I thought it was an earthquake because of the sound of gravel underneath the train," Thomas said.
Thomas had only started taking the train to her job at Bank of America downtown six days ago, after friends convinced her that it would be less stressful than driving. She said she is unsure whether she will take the train again.