Many question Metro's ability to handle emergencies after Rosslyn nightmare

Rosslyn Metro was a mob scene on Tuesday after the escalators broke down an incident at Clarendon station. (Photo: Kendall Griggs)

Many Metro commuters are hoping for a much smoother ride this morning after a number of problems Tuesday.

A man was struck by a train at the Clarendon Metro station about 4:50 p.m. during the evening rush hour. Thousands of Blue and Orange Line riders had to exit their trains at the Rosslyn Metro station to change onto shuttle buses.

The situation snowballed out of control when all four Rosslyn escalators stopped operating. A Metro spokesperson says the escalator outage was due to the large crowds.

The man who was struck by the train is in serious condition and being treated in intensive care as of Tuesday night. The victim suffered head injuries and multiple broken bones. The injuries are considered potentially life threatening.

Metro says it appears the man intentionally got in front of the train. He's been identified as a 39-year-old resident of McLean.

The intense heat inside, large crowds and grueling walk up the steps proved too much for many, especially elderly commuters who were visibly overcome and exhausted. Some were treated at the scene with oxygen masks, others transported by ambulance.

Tourist Ardemas Walsh says there was "no air, people are screaming, throwing up, passing out.”

"I thought I was going to die,” Walsh said.

While emergency paramedics were working to remove the man from under a train, passengers like Don Bango were trapped inside hot and dark trains for almost an hour.

"All trains in all directions stopped,” Bango said.

Hundreds of commuters turned into thousands trying to board shuttle buses provided by Metro.

“You have to get off, take this bus back to the station, everyone was very frustrated about it,” Briana Mulder said.

Ann Seeulcre said she had trouble finding an escalator with her suitcase. “I think there should be a better way to do it,” she said.

Service was suspended between Rosslyn and Ballston. Riders going to Courthouse, Clarendon, or Virginia Square, had to exit at Rosslyn and catch a shuttle bus. Some chose to walk long distances.

All the upward-bound escalators were out of service at the station at one time. They resumed working around 7 p.m.

For many, the incident left people questioning Metro's ability to handle emergencies.