After stuck subway ordeal, rider demands safety changes

- A Brooklyn man is demanding accountability from the MTA after an incident where he and more than 1,500 other passengers were stuck in a hot, dark subway train for close to an hour after it lost power in a tunnel.

June 5 is a day Brooklyn resident Michael Sciaraffo wishes he could forget. On that day, straphangers shared videos and pictures from a pitch-black F subway train that got stuck in the tunnel right after pulling out of the West 4th Street station.

"For 45 minutes we sweated and panicked," Sciaraffo said. "We could have a terrorist attack, we could have a fire, we could have any sort of emergency in those tunnels and not one person who rides them knows what to do in the event of an emergency."

When the train made it into a station, the doors were unable to open and passengers were seen trying to pry the doors open from the inside of the train.

“Passengers had no way to escape the near deadly conditions and began to suffocate in the dangerous temperatures, with no way to open doors for ventilation and no way to communicate to the conductor as to what was happening inside the cars.” said  Sciaraffo. “It is a miracle that all made it off of that train alive."

Based upon what he considered to be a lack of seriousness shown by elected officials, he decided to take matters into his own hands. In conducting his own "citizen investigation" he says he spoke with dozens of MTA employees, subway riders on that train, as well as other daily subway riders who had similar stories to share.

He has now has written nine letters and sent them to the NTSB, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, and other city, state, and federal officials. The letters demand an investigation into the facts surrounding what exactly happened on that near deadly train that day.

He also wants charts, diagrams or some type of evacuation plan be posted inside subway stations and trains.

Sciaraffo said he expects some sort of answer within a month and hopes to see action shortly after.

“The MTA must act to prevent these incidents in the future by prioritizing basic maintenance and laying out a clear-cut plan to aid and assist stranded passengers in the event of power failure or in any emergency situation,” Sciaraffo said.

The MTA declined to comment for this story.

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