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Derailed NYC Subway Left 1,000 People Stranded Underground

May 5, 2014

About 1,000 people were trapped underground last Friday when a subway train derailed in Queens, New York Post reports. The incident injured 19 people and caused a cracked rail, among other damages. Passengers on the train recount the distressing situation when six of eight cars on a Brooklyn-bound F train derailed near Broadway and 65th street in Woodside, filling the cars with smoke. Many straphangers suffered panic attacks and breathing issues as a result.

“The train was shaking and the cars in the front started tilting to the right,” said 33-year old passenger Melissa Delgado to New York Post. “I heard a pang and then a screech and then the train came to a halt.” Razi Levin, 40, was headed to Manhattan when he heard “a metal-on-metal sound and it was really loud.”

A number of passengers feared for their lives when the train derailed, causing the subway cars to sway back and forth. Thirty-one year old Tayyib Siddiqui said that many people in his car thought the train was going to catch fire when smoke billowed into the car. “It was a horrifying experience,” he said to New York Post. “I thought, ‘This is it, we’re not going to survive…Thank God the sparks were the worst of it.” Jemina Asamoah, 24, told New York Post “I thought I was going to die… Thank God I’m alive.”

According to Deputy Assistant Chief James Leonard, the ventilation system had turned off because power was cut to the area quickly. The pilot car and last car did not derail, but the six cars in the middle did, said FDNY Chief James Hall at a press conference.

Some passengers suffered injuries as a result of the derailment, and are worried about subsequent medical bills. This is the case for 56-year old Angela Forbes, who was one of the passengers taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center. Forbes, who was treated for a knee injury, told New York Post “I’m going to be fine, but the memories are going to take a while to get over,” She said that she was worried about the medical bills, since her insurance company refuses to cover her ambulance ride. “I think it’s ridiculous because it’s not my fault the train derailed. I don’t think I should be responsible for that, it’s the responsibility of the MTA.” Forbes said.

Alassane Ngaide, who caught the train at the 71st Street stop in Forest Hills, said that passengers sat in the uncomfortably hot subway cars with very little information about what was going on, other than an assurance from the loudspeaker that “help was on the way”

Over 100 firefighters worked to pull the stranded passengers through the underground street gates. Originally, the plan was to have passengers walk onto a rescue train that would take them to the next stop, said Ngaide. But instead, officials decided against it and led the straphangers through the tracks to the streets.

The train motorman and conductor are being tested for drug and alcohol use. When the train derailed, it was on a long curve that leads to a downhill segment; the speed limit there is 35 mph. Currently, it is not known whether or not the accident occurred due to excessive speed, but some passengers reported they felt the train was moving faster than usual.

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