FDNY Rescues Man Pinned By Subway

Updated: 06-08-2006 09:55:32 AM

The New York Sun

A man relieving himself beside the subway tracks in a tunnel at City Hall station had a turn of bad luck yesterday. As he swung around to return up the stairs in a section of the tunnel just south of the station, his hand was caught under a fast-moving no. 5 train, police and fire officials said.

Fire rescue crews from Ladder 1 and Squad 18 had to lift up the train with air-inflated cushions and jacks just to get him free of the tracks, a Fire Department spokesman, Ryan Daly, said.

The man wasn't identified yesterday, but police and transit officials said he wasn't an employee of New York City Transit. His hand was mangled, partially severed, and missing several fingers, Mr. Daly said.

The accident caused lengthy delays on the 4, 5, and 6 lines. The incident happened at 10:45 a.m. It took emergency workers one hour and 15 minutes to get the man out of the tunnel and into an ambulance.

After removing his hand from beneath the train, he was brought aboard the stationary train, where paramedics performed a triage operation on the train floor in a bid to save his hand, a fire chief, Ron Schmutzler, said. Engine 7's crew did the trauma work.

The hand "was in pretty bad shape," Chief Schmutzler said. The quick work may have saved him from having an amputation, he said.

Police and transit employees shut down the station entrance just outside City Hall. A police helicopter hovered overhead observing the busy scene outside the station.

When the man was brought from the station on a stretcher, his left hand was wrapped thickly in gauze and padding. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition last night.

Police and fire rescue crews haven't discovered what he was doing on the tracks. When he was pulled out, he was "mumbling a lot in Spanish," but wasn't speaking coherently, Mr. Daly said.