What’s more, the area of track where the train derailed is one deemed by the MTA as a “critical break area,” and is the site of the second-highest rate of rail breakage between 2005 and 2012 with 205 broken rails. The MTA had plans to reinforce this trouble spot in a project planned for 2015 rollout, according to published reports.
The incident occurred at 10:25 a.m., leaving the roughly 1,000 passengers to swelter in the stuffy, powerless train for almost an hour before rescue workers were able to safely assist them out onto the street through an emergency hatch at the corner of 60th Street and Broadway.
At a press conference shortly after the derailment, Thomas Prendergast, chairman and CEO of the MTA, said that the main concern going into the weekend was reestablishing local service, after which they would focus on removing the train.
“Focus initially was on taking are of all the injured,” Prendergast said. “Now we’re going to focus on the investigation. The accident needs to be looked at very closely.”
Chief Leonard of the FDNY explained that the middle six of the eight cars in the train carrying approximately 1,000 passengers were affected by the derailment. Originally, smoke was reported, however Leonard confirmed that this was in fact dust, and no fires were caused by the derailment.
There were 19 injuries reported in the accident, most related to trouble breathing and chest pains, according to FDNY spokesman James Long after the press conference.
“Any ventilation down there was turned off so it was hot for people down there,” said Leonard. “It was dark. There was no emergency lights and no power.”
Counciilman Jimmy Van Bramer rushed to the scene as soon as he was able to confirm what had taken place.
“My office is not too far away and we could hear the helicopters all over Sunnyside and Woodside. We rushed over to see what the situation was and to make sure all the appropriate agencies were here,” Van Bramer said. “They were, they are and we are very pleased with the response.”
He said his office plans to follow the investigation closely and to ensure that the people of Queens have restored express service as soon as possible.
“Obviously we want to follow the investigation and see how we can both begin the investigation, make sure everyone is safe, and ultimately get service back up and running for people of Western Queens; the F train is an important train everyone here,” Van Bramer said.
Prior to the F train derailment on Friday, the last subway derailment was on May 29th at 125th Street on the 1 line.