NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A subway platform looked more like a raging river during last night’s downpour.
The force of the water knocked down a commuter in a video that’s going viral.
— Rick (@SubwayCreatures) July 18, 2019
It happened at the Court Square-23rd Street Station in Long Island City, Queens. The video shows water rushing through a construction wall on the platform, whisking a man off his feet and dragging him close to an oncoming trian.
“Oh my, that’s a little scary,” said subway rider Yolande Piazza. “That’s absolutely crazy.”
The wall was back in place Thursday and everything was dry. The MTA said they became aware of the water coming into the station shortly before 8 p.m. last night.
“This was an absolutely unacceptable and avoidable incident caused by a contractor working on a residential development project that could have put lives at risk,” the MTA said in a statement.
Speaker Johnson, this was absolutely unacceptable to us. It was caused by a developer/contractor building apartments next door. Here's a full statement/explanation: pic.twitter.com/Uls7knVqtM
— NYCT Subway (@NYCTSubway) July 18, 2019
Transit officials say the problem is when a private developer working on a residential tower adjacent to the station allowed their construction site to become inundated with water, partly because they did not have a proper water pumping system. That water built up at the worksite and ended up coming through the plywood wall at the station where a new entrance and elevator are being constructed.
“Oh my god, that is crazy!” subway rider Jhevon Tulloch said when he watched the video.
Tulloch says he waited out the storm in a bar after getting all the flood alerts.
“It just kept on saying flood warning and Long Island City. I was like, I’m not going outside, I’m just going to stay inside and keep drinking,” Tulloch said.
“It’s pretty scary. I hope nobody was hurt, but I’m kind of glad I wasn’t here and didn’t take the train at that hour last night,” said subway rider Jay Murray.
Ludmilla Buitron is pregnant and says bad weather keeps her off the streets.
“I check the weather before I go out,” she said.
“You’re not taking chances of falling on the floor,” said CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.
“No, I can not do that right now,” Buitron said.
The MTA says the contractor is now adding new safety measures from a new wall to proper water pumping around the worksite.
Here’s the MTA’s full statement:
This was an absolutely unacceptable and avoidable incident caused by a contractor working on a residential development project that could have put lives at risk. We have already begun taking steps to make sure the developer and contractor are held accountable and this doesn’t happen again. We have no reported injuries and no service impact from this incident as our trackbed drainage system was able to remove all of this unexpected water, but we regret that our customers were inconvenienced and put at risk by this contractor’s shocking lapse in best safety practices. Our initial investigation finds that severe and dangerous flooding was caused at the Court Square subway station last night when a private developer building a residential tower adjacent to the subway station – as well as a new entrance and elevator for the station – allowed their construction site to become inundated with water after their contractor relocated utilities and did not have the proper pumping system in place to act as a temporary drainage system. Their worksite was inundated with rainwater during severe thunderstorms, causing water to build up at their worksite and breach plywood separating their worksite from the station. Transit personnel responded to the station immediately last night after a customer report of water in the station; the platform water condition had already cleared but that section of the platform was blocked off temporarily out of an abundance of caution. Transit officials met with the contractor and secured numerous measures to address this immediately: the contractor agreed to restore proper pumping to the worksite, agreed to build additional protections around its worksite including a dam and a new wall and waterproofing, and agreed to have more personnel on site during major storm events. NYC Transit will also have additional personnel on site to monitor this project during storm events.
It wasn’t the only incident of water in the subway system during the storm.
— oblomchik (@oblomchik2017) July 18, 2019
— Rose Minutaglio (@RoseMinutaglio) July 18, 2019