Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Bookmark and Share this page

Accident Report Detail

Automobile Intrusion Onto the Long Island Railroad Electrified Tracks and Fire

Executive Summary

‚ÄčAt 4:30 p.m., e.d.s.t., on August 8, 1973, an automobile carrying five teenagers was driven onto the electrified tracks of the Long Island Railroad by an unlicensed 15-year-old girl. The car's contact with the third rail caused a short circuit and initiated severe electrical arcing. The car immediately began to burn at the front, and the fire spread to the rear. The two girls in the front seat escaped through the right door. Both fled from the automobile and the scene of the accident. The three girls in the back seat died in the fire.

Loss of life in this accident was caused by difficulty in escaping from the back seat of the two-door automobile and by the rapid spread of fire. The rapid spread of fire was contributed to by the continued electrical arcing permitted by the design of the railroad electrical supply system, which did not assure complete removal of power after a severe short circuit.

Probable Cause

‚ÄčThe National Transportation Safety Board determines that the cause of this accident was the driving of the automobile by an unlicensed and untrained juvenile off the roadway onto the electrified tracks, where it crashed into the third rail.

Accident Location: Garden City , NY    
Accident Date: 8/8/1973
Accident ID: 79759

Date Adopted: 9/5/1974
NTSB Number: HAR-74-03
NTIS Number: PB-236267/AS

Related Report

Related Press Releases

Related Events

Related Investigations