Man rescued from under train; delays during rush hour

(Photo: Kent Brooks)

A man who was trapped under a Metro train at Friendship Heights Monday seems to have been accidentally struck by the train, a Metro spokesperson said Monday evening.

The Red Line train traveling to Glenmont struck the man around 4 p.m. in the Friendship Heights Station. The man became trapped under the third car, the spokesperson said.

"He was about three cars back. I believe it was not far from the platform area,” said Pete Piringer of D.C. Fire and EMS.

"The train stopped and the lights went out, so they cut the power,” said Haley Rosenfeld, who was on that train, two cars from where the man was trapped. She saw others trying to comfort him as paramedics arrived.

"There were two women talking to somebody under the train, they were responding, thumbs up or thumbs down,” Rosenfeld says. “They asked them if they were okay, told them to calm down.”

Firefighters freed him after about 40 minutes. He was transported to an area hospital, where he remains in critical condition. He was conscious when he was rescued by D.C. and Montgomery County officials.

The man is described as a 40-year-old from Northwest D.C. His suffered life-threatening head, leg and internal injuries. On Monday evening, he remained at the hospital in critical condition.

The rescue effort caused significant delays during the evening rush hour. Trains were single-tracking at the station. Passengers faced significant delays in both directions along the Red Line, with crowded stations and trains following the incident.

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Update - Friendship Hgts Metro - DC & Mont County FRS tech rescue assisting - victim is conscious - currently metro trains bypassing stationless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Replydcfireems

The single-tracking at the start of rush hour led to long wait times. Alexandra Gekas from Frederick waited 45 minutes for her train. "People are getting really angry, really frustrated,” she said.

Cell phone video shows a packed Van Ness station. Angry riders shouting at passing trains.

"People were banging on the Grosvenor train that just came by because it stopped and wouldn't open," says Zena Huen.

"It's just chaos,” Gekas said. "Two trains went zooming by, they keep changing the times. We don't really know anything. Nobody's telling us anything."

Monica Jones added, "it was packed down there. Very frustrating at this point, because I want to get home."

Normal train service was restored around 6:45 p.m.

The train operator has been removed from service and will undergo standard drug and alcohol testing.

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