Subway riders recount terrifying experience onboard train during sudden derailment

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Friday, January 5, 2024
Subway train derailment that injured 26 could impact morning commute
Anthony Carlo has more on the impact of service disruptions and reaction from frightened passengers.

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Several commuters were left shaken after a partial train derailment on the Upper West Side injured dozens of passengers Thursday afternoon.

At least 26 people, mostly passengers, suffered minor injuries after the first car of a No. 1 train made contact with a disabled train.

On that passenger train, a couple of hundred people had to be evacuated.

Another train directly behind that impacted train also had to be evacuated.

About 300 people were evacuated from the train that derailed, and firefighters also evacuated a few hundred people from a third train.

First responders were able to get everyone above ground without having them on the actual track bed.

"I started crying and started having a panic attack," said Zor Sanchez, one of the passengers. "I drank water and threw up and everything."

Sanchez and her friend were riding the No. 2 train home from school when they got stuck behind the derailed No. 1 train.

Other passengers didn't wait for help, they say, jumping out windows and climbing across the tracks.

"People were hopping off the train and walking on the tracks and going to the other side, where people were helping them up," said Sanchez.

"There was a guy that was right next to us that did that," added Mari Reyes. "I don't know how he got across but he got across."

Videos recorded by passengers showed what many described to Eyewitness News as a "chaotic" scene.

"Our car was the fourth car and to see that our, our train like kind of tilted to the side and then everyone started panicking," recounted Jessica Tyler. "Everyone started panicking because we could smell the smoke."

Other commuters recalled smoke filling up inside the train, which further added to the shroud of panic.

"The train did fill up with smoke, we saw lots of sparks," said Daniel Torres. "Everyone said to open the window. So, everyone quickly opened the windows, which helped dissipate the smoke."

Thankfully, there were also good Samaritans who stepped in to help others maintain their composure during what was an otherwise tense scenario.

"Next thing I know they're talking about it's going to be a five-to-ten-minute wait, so me and some other dude, we controlled the regulation of the people that was already there on the train and tried to get them not to panic or go into frantic mode," said Gregory King.

The Nos. 1, 2, and 3 lines remain partially suspended at many Manhattan stations through at least the end of the day.

Officials revealed that vandalism may have played a factor in the derailment.

MTA and FDNY officials brief the public after a minor subway train derailment in Manhattan Thursday.

"The out of service train had been vandalized, a number of emergency cords had been pulled earlier by someone," said Davey. "They were able to reset everything, but one and that was the reason why that train was still stuck in the station."


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