Mayor Bloomberg sent out a condolence message to derailment victims on Twitter at around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, but he didn't make a public appearance until around 8 p.m., more than 12 hours after the crash.
When the mayor emerged from Saint Barnabas Hospital after visiting with patients, he was asked about his earlier absence.
"What can I do? I'm not a professional firefighter or a police officer, so there's nothing I can do,” Bloomberg said. “What I can do is make sure that the right people from New York City, our police commissioner, our fire commissioner, our emergency management commissioner, are there and that they have all the resources that they want. I was briefed a few minutes, probably half an hour after the train wreck was the first time I heard about it. And we responded in the ways that I think the city should be proud of our emergency first responders.”
In a statement, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said in part, "We stand ready to work with officials and authorities in any way we can to help those in need, and to learn the cause of this accident."