A subway train slammed into the rear of another on a bridge at least 100 feet above the East River on Monday, crushing a motorman to death in his compartment and injuring 54 passengers.
Hundreds of rescuers worked for three hours with ladders and aluminum mesh baskets to lower the injured and help other passengers to the roadway running along the Williamsburg Bridge about 15 feet below the tracks.
Passengers were thrown around cars, and their belongings littered the spot where the crash took place. The motorman’s cab was crushed inside the last car of the other train, like one part of a telescope sliding into another.
“It was total chaos,” said 38-yearold Herbert Brown, who was riding in the first train and was knocked to the floor. “It sounded like an explosion. Everybody in the car felt the impact. People fell down. People were crying.”
The cause of the crash in lower Manhattan was under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
NTSB Chairman Jim Hall noted that a similar accident involving two trains happened in February in the borough of Brooklyn. Seven people suffered minor injuries.
“Two accidents within four months is certainly something that warrants our full attention,” Hall said.
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