Helicopter images show at least five of the seven cars of the Metro-North Railroad train derailed — at least two of them were thrown on their side. The leading car came within feet of plunging into the Harlem River.
The train had left at 5:54 a.m. from Poughkeepsie, New York, and was due in Grand Central Terminal, New York City, at 7:43 a.m. ET.
The station name, Spuyten Duyvil, is the name of a subsection of the Riverdale section in New York City, which refers to the southernmost section of Riverdale, below West 232nd Street, or below 239th Street by some definitions.
The area is named after Spuyten Duyvil Creek, where "Spuyten Duyvil" literally means "Spouting Devil" or Spuitende Duivel in Dutch; a reference to the strong and wild tidal currents found at that location. It may also be translated as "Spewing Devil" or "Spinning Devil," or more loosely as "Devil's Whirlpool" or "Devil's Spate." Spui and spuit are still today commonly used Dutch words involving outlets for water. (See "Devil's Names and Fortean Places.")
Spuyten Duyvil neighborhood is home to The Henry Hudson Memorial Park and the Henry Hudson Bridge, which connects it to the island of Manhattan. It is also the location of the Spuyten Duyvil train station, which is served by the Hudson Line of the Metro-North Railroad, as Wikipedia notes.
Saint Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan was originally an Indian path named Weekquaeskeek, which accommodated travelers going north to Spuyten Duyvil.
There exists a weird historical report, as well, from the area. It is generally recalled as the earliest recorded shark attack in the New World.
In 1642, Anthony Van Corlaer died while attempting to swim across the Hudson from Spuyten Duyvil. A witness to Van Corlaer's death stated that "the devil" in the shape of a giant fish swam up and proceeded to "seize the sturdy Antony by the leg and drag him beneath the waves." (See the comment section below for more details on this story, from Cory Panshin.)
Clutha is the name also of a Scottish country dance, in which the eight dancers are arranged in a square set as for the Eightsome Reel. It is a 48 bar reel. An Clutha (more often spelled An Cluadha) is the Gaelic name for The Clyde. It is one of the modern Scottish country dances and was first published by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society in 1983.
Andy Cobley, a Fortean Times associate, emails, "We currently have 8 reported dead, but that could change (although I hope not of course)."
Paul William Walker IV was born in Glendale, California, in 1973 and began acting at 2 years old, appearing in many commercials.
He played Professor Bennet in the 1987 movie Monster in the Closet and starred in the television series Throb.
Walker also made guest appearances on television shows, including Charles in Charge and Who's the Boss? and had a role in the soap opera, The Young and the Restless.
In terms of irony, it is to be recalled that one role Paul Walker played was Jerry Shepard, in 2006's Eight Below.
Other film appearances include Pleasantville, Varsity Blues, Timeline, Into the Blue, The Lazarus Project and Hours, which is slated for release in December 2014.
Walker has a teenager daughter named Meadow.
Roger Rodas, 38, has been named as the driver in the crash that killed Paul Walker.
Ferry, train, and small plane crashes also occurred.