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UPDATE: Man 'Intentionally Placed Himself on the Tracks' at Van Ness; Delays Continue

UPDATE (2:59 p.m.): A Metro press release confirms that Red Line service near the Van Ness station has returned to normal after trains shared a single track in that area for nearly two hours.

UPDATE (2:55 p.m.): Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato says that service on the Red Line has returned to normal with trains using both sides of the track. She warns though that there will be "residual delays" for a little while. Fortunately for commuters, this happened before the onslaught of the Friday rush hour.

UPDATE (2:52 p.m.): Metro just sent a text alert to say that the disruption at Van Ness-UDC station caused by the man who apparently jumped onto the track has been cleared.

UPDATE (2:08 p.m.): Metro just sent an alert to say that delays in both directions continue on the Red Line. The text alert advises that "the estimated duration of the incident is 30 minutes."

UPDATE (1:41 p.m.): Witnesses told Metro investigators that the man struck by the train at Van Ness "intentionally placed himself on the tracks," Metro says.

WMATA moved a press release with additional details about the incident. The train, headed toward Shady Grove, had six cars.

UPDATE (1:39 p.m.): The unnamed man rescued at the Van Ness station was underneath the second train car itself, not the refuge area, according to Deputy Chief Kenneth Crosswhite, a spokesman for the fire department. This clarifies an earlier statement that the man was rescued from the refuge area.

UPDATE (1:33 p.m): The man rescued from underneath the train at the Van Ness Metro station was a man in his 40s, according to Deputy Chief Kenneth Crosswhite, a spokesman for the fire department. He added in an interview that the man was actually stuck underneath the second car in a refuge area of the track bed, contrary to an earlier report. Rescue units originally were transporting the man to George Washington University Hospital, but Crosswhite said they rerouted to take the patient to MedStar hospital. He is listed as a Priority One, meaning that he has serious injuries.

Crosswhite said it remains unclear how the man ended up in underneath the second car. D.C. Police and Metro Transit Police are investigating, he said. They will review the surveillance tapes to see whether he fell, jumped or was pushed.

UPDATE (1:20 p.m.): At about 1:13 p.m., a man was removed from underneath the train, Metro spokesman Candace Smith said. He is being taken away by D.C. Fire and Rescue, she said, but his condition remains unknown. Service wise, she said they are still single tracking between Cleveland Park and Friendship Heights. Major delays should still be expected as police and fire crews investigate.

UPDATE (1:12 p.m.): Metro just sent an alert advising that "the estimated duration of this incident is 1 hour."

UPDATE (1:09 p.m.): Metro just put out a press release advising Red Line riders to expect "major delays in the afternoon while emergency crews and police respond to the incident."

ORIGINAL (1:03 p.m.): A person is stuck undeneath the first car of a Red Line train, Metro says. A train at the Van Ness-UDC station on Connecticut Ave. struck a passenger at 12:33 p.m., according to Taryn McNeil, Metro spokeswoman. She said the condition of the person, and details about how they might have ended up on the track, are unknown at this time.

The train was headed toward Shady Grove. The Van Ness station remains open, McNeil said. Trains are sharing the same track between Cleveland Park and Friendship Heights while rescue units respond.

By James Hohmann  |  July 24, 2009; 1:03 PM ET
 | Tags: metro, red line  
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Comments

How does this keep happening? We have the lights at the edges, and the nubby floor surface near the edge. The trains aren't terribly quiet either in the tunnels. That's a lot of senses to be overridden.

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | July 24, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Suicide is one possible explanation...

Posted by: squatty2 | July 24, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't Metro sent out an eAlert about this? (or at least I haven't received one as of 1:26 p.m.)

Posted by: DC84 | July 24, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

While we don't know about this case yet, this is often a deliberate act by people trying to commit suicide. Sadly, no amount of flashing lights and noise will prevent these intentional acts.

Posted by: nashpaul | July 24, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

We need these on our subway system.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeleeorg/480872635/

Posted by: mugengsr1 | July 24, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If he was indeed trying to commit suicide, he wouldn't have rolled into the refuge area of the track bed. (I recognize that the earlier posts were made before the 1:33 PM update.)

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 24, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

They need to install glass at the edge of the platform, like they do in many parts of the world.

Posted by: mugengsr1 | July 24, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

BTW, regarding the platform-edge doors: Metrorail's train operators have enough trouble stopping the trains at the platform as it is! Doors would require them to hit a precise mark every time!

Posted by: 1995hoo | July 24, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

In Singapore transportation system and in Atlanta Airport there is a wall with doors that open only when the train stops in the correct location. Marvelous invention that keeps people from being pushed by anxious crowds or from attempting suicide. However these walls and doors cost money and Washington Metro has not even wanted to pay for automatic safety systems that keep the trains from colliding. It's a good thing we spend our money on more useless nuclear submarines, F22 fighters and missiles in silos that we hope will never, ever be used to destroy the planet overnight. Heaven forbid that we cancel one boondoggle military industrial project and give our babies proper health treatments and schools without leaky roofs. The rich and powerful seem perfectly intent to prolong needless suffering for the sake of useless weapons.

Posted by: thw2001 | July 24, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"At about 1:13 p.m., a man was removed from underneath the train, Metro spokesman Candace Smith said"

Ok, move the train, hose down the track, turn on the power, get trains moving.

This should be over by now.

Posted by: r6345 | July 24, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I think there's a curse on the Red Line.

Seriously, the Metro seems to be extremely crowded this tourist season. The recent delays have only added to the crowding on the platforms. Most people seem to understand the safety features, but I have also seen some pretty stupid behavior lately - by locals as well as out-of-towners. Could be this person got pushed, tripped, or maybe just confused. It happens. Just wondering - why the Red Line again?

Posted by: telesonic | July 24, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"witnesses reported that he intentionally placed himself on the tracks"

"Red Line riders should expect delays into the afternoon while police and other Metro personnel investigate the incident"

Looks like the investigation is over. Get things moving. Nothing more to see here.

Posted by: r6345 | July 24, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

How does this keep happening? We have the lights at the edges, and the nubby floor surface near the edge. The trains aren't terribly quiet either in the tunnels. That's a lot of senses to be overridden.

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | July 24, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

UPDATE (2:08 p.m.): Metro just sent an alert to say that delays in both directions continue on the Red Line. The text alert advises that "the estimated duration of the incident is 30 minutes."

Reading is fundamental.

Posted by: askgees | July 24, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Well that explains it.

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | July 24, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

London uses glass walls at platform edge in some stations. Let's face it -- the American public are not interested in investing in public transit like rest of industrialized world. Our priorities lie elsewhere. We spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined. The results are obvious.

Posted by: ChasRyder1 | July 24, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I just came back from lunch with my son who works near Van ness, and on my way back to east bound back to downtown, that's where I saw all the Police and EMT trying to rescue the person. Luckily, the east route train was still operating, and I got back to my office on time. I'm always afraid to be in front of the crowd waiting for incoming train especially rush hours. You should see some of the people rushing to get in and sometimes they are too close to the track.

Posted by: masterjune5401 | July 24, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I was sadly once was on the platform @ Union Station when someone jumped in front of the train. It was as if everything went in slow motion, the station got eerily quiet, and the only sound you heard was the thump.

Posted by: Sec131 | July 24, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I asked Dr. Gridlock last year and he agreed:
No one has ever been killed or seriously injured by accidentally falling off (or getting bumped or pushed off) a Metrorail platform. The platforms have been amazingly safe for 30+ years in that respect and I don't see the need to change them. It's nice to be able to say that about some aspect of Metro.

Posted by: KS100H | July 24, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

What happened to The Post not reporting suicides? These suicidal incidents happen a lot more than most people realize, due to WaPo's lack of coverage. Many of the comments submitted are sent by people who seem to think this is a rarity. This is actually suprisingly common, despite WaPo's previous reluctance to cover it. Why the change today, WaPo?

Posted by: goddaraw | July 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

What happened to The Post not reporting suicides? These suicidal incidents happen a lot more than most people realize, due to WaPo's lack of coverage. Many of the comments submitted are sent by people who seem to think this is a rarity. This is actually suprisingly common, despite WaPo's previous reluctance to cover it. Why the change today, WaPo?

Posted by: goddaraw | July 24, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, this is very rare for there to be media covering these, which happen clsoe to once a month.

Suicide attempts have not been covered, and should not be either, in order to take away the "glamor" effect.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | July 24, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Still no Metro Alert in my email regarding this (or anything else on the Red Line.)

Posted by: Tony-Tony-Tony | July 24, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Got this via e-mail about 40 min. ago:

(ID 57256) Disruption at Van Ness-UDC was cleared. Thank you for riding Metro.

Posted by: DC84 | July 24, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

People who are complaining about not getting a metro alert via email should check their settings.

When you register, you have the option of selecting between what times you will receive the alert and for which line, that could be why you are not receiving anything!

Or, since you are reading this, you obviously now about it, so smile and be happy that you arent instead on your way to the station!

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | July 24, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Question. Wasn't someone watching the cameras to alert the train operator?

Posted by: mcj1 | July 24, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they need suicide prevention phones along the platform, connected to suicide prevention hotlines, as they have on Golden Gate Bridge.

Would it delay things too much if the trains slowed to a crawl before entering the station?

Or, put some kind of cowcatcher, big scoop on the front of the trains that would catch people on the tracks.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | July 24, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

There must be nicer ways of trying to commit suicide.

Someone jumping in front of a metro subway train risk loosing a leg, an arm or possibly one of each WITHOUT DYING IN THE PROCESS.

There is the bridge on Calvert and a jump from that would likely be fatal without risking loosing a leg or an arm and surviving in far worse shape than when the venture began.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | July 24, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Can we get an update? Was it suicide? Did he live? People want to know...

Posted by: blah1233242 | July 25, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I have been getting Red Line alerts every day all day for years. Got nothing on this.

Posted by: Tony-Tony-Tony | July 25, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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