Subway elevator traps 20 people

April 11, 2011 2:35:43 PM PDT
20 people were stuck for almost an hour inside a subway elevator.

The women, children, and seniors were desperate to get out as the temperatures continued to rise in close quarters.

It was no way to spend a Friday night: trapped in an elevator underground with more than two dozen other people.

But a YouTube video is proof that that is exactly what happened last Friday night at 181st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights.

One of the elevators subway riders use to get to the number one train failed.

In the video, the stuck passengers appear to be in good spirits, but as the temperature rises, some of them can be seen fanning a young asthmatic girl, who became more and more upset as time passed.

Finally, about 35 to 40 minutes after the elevator stalled an FDNY firefighter drop through the hatch of the roof.

"It's OK. We're here, I'm not going anywhere, everything's okay. I know it's really hot in here, but you'll be okay," a firefighter said in the video.

None of the passengers were hurt, and in a statement Monday, the MTA said: "The problem was caused by newly installed hoist ropes which were adjusted the next day. The car was test operated for the next 24 hours and has been returned to service."

The elevators are essentially the only way for riders to access the number one train at 181st Street and records indicate there have been problems with several of the elevators there in the past.

Daily rider Arnold Vargas says he got stuck about a week and a half ago.

"You're trying to get from one place to another and on top of the anxiety of being late, and then you don't know if you're going to get out of there alive," Vargas said.

YouTube Video: