NEW YORK – The last of the funerals for passengers killed when a Metro-North Railroad train derailed was held Saturday, as transit officials worked to fix the tracks for the eventual restoration of service.
Kisook Ahn, 35, was killed last Sunday along with three others when a train flew off the tracks after hitting a curve at 82 mph, nearly three times the 30 mph speed limit. The train operator told investigators he nodded at the controls and didn't apply the brakes until it was too late.
Ahn's family traveled from Korea for the funeral, and her friends and family said she was a loyal and dedicated nurse. She was returning home after her overnight shift at the Sunshine Children's Home and Rehab Center for severely ill children in Ossining, about 30 miles north of New York, when she was killed.
"She was a sweetheart. An angel. She never frowned," former co-worker Ethelina Cox told the Daily News of New York.
Ahn arrived in the United States in 2008 as part of an exchange program with a university in South Korea. She graduated from the City University of New York's Lehman College with bachelor and master's degrees in nursing.
"She came here to pursue her dreams," her brother, Jinwon Ahn, 45, told the newspaper through a translator.
Jinwon said Kisook will be cremated. The family will also have services in South Korea.
Funeral services were held Friday for two victims of the derailment. Jim Lovell was a sound and lighting expert and technician on NBC's "Today" show who had been on his way to work on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Donna Smith, a paralegal, had been going to hear her sister sing a holiday classic, Handel's "Messiah," with a choral group. The funeral for James Ferrari, a building maintenance worker putting his daughter through college, was held Thursday. There were 63 other injuries, 11 serious.
Transit officials said work to fix the track should be completed by Sunday. The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to investigate. The Metro-North Railroad has until Tuesday to identify places in its system with major speed changes under an order from federal transportation officials requiring an extra worker in the driver's cab on certain routes.