March 4, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Around 500 subway passengers were left stranded for more than two hours in a tunnel near Long Island City Sunday after a 7 train hit an object on the track — causing light smoke to seep into the train.
The straphangers were riding on a Manhattan-bound 7 train that had left the Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Ave. subway station at around 5:30 p.m. when the train struck an unidentified object, FDNY Deputy Chief Francis McCarthy said at a press conference yesterday.
The object became stuck underneath the train causing it to stall around 3,500 feet into the tunnel, McCarthy said. The impact triggered light smoke to enter the train, he said.
Power was briefly cut off after there were reports of people walking on the track. Those reports were later found to be untrue, FDNY officials said.
The straphangers were stuck on the train before a rescue train arrived and shuttled the marooned passengers back to the Vernon Blvd.-Jackson Ave. subway station where they disembarked, according to the MTA.
There were no injuries and all passengers were fully evacuated from the subway system by 8 p.m., the FDNY said.
One straphanger described the incident as distressing for many on board.
“A lot of the passengers were scared, there were people crying,” passenger Ruth Florentino told the New York Daily News.
“There was a little bit of panic because of the smoke and the power went off.”
The NYPD is investigating how the object got onto the tracks. An FDNY spokesperson said the object may have been metal debris.
The incident caused 7 train services between 34th St.-Hudson Yards and Hunters Pt. Ave. to be suspended until around 8:55 p.m., an MTA spokesperson said.
Initial FDNY reports estimated there were 750 passengers stuck on the train. However, the MTA said it got a more accurate count of around 500 riders as the straphangers exited the train.