One woman has died and two others are in a critical condition after a metro tunnel in Washington DC filled with smoke during yesterday's late afternoon rush.
A total of 83 people were taken to hospital after smoke from an unknown source began filling cars. The above amateur video shows people in one carriage coughing and wheezing in the smoke.
Officials from America's National Transportation Safety Board said the driver was unable to reverse the train back to L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, where it had departed from. This trapped some passengers in carriages until firefighters arrived.
The eight-car train, which was destined for Virginia, stopped around 240 metres south of the departing platform. Many passengers had made their own way out before the firefighters arrived. Some people forced their way out the train cars, before walking through the dark tunnel to a vent, where they climbed a three or four story high stair case to the ground floor.
L’Enfant Plaza station was evacuated for several hours after the incident. There was no fire onboard and the train did not derail, according to the NTSB's investigator, Michael Flanigon.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser met with some of the injured passengers in hospital last night.
“We are all saddened by today’s fatality aboard the Metrorail, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the passenger who passed away,” she said in a statement last night.
“I want to thank our brave first responders who assisted passengers during the evacuation and with treatment at the scene.”