Thousands of subway riders had their morning commute disrupted Tuesday morning when a person was crushed by an oncoming train at the Times Square station around 10 a.m., leaving bystanders both shocked and fascinated by the macabre scene.
The person — there were conflicting reports whether it was a man or a woman — appeared to have jumped in front of the train, witnesses said.
Even as emergency workers struggled to remove the body, which was lodged beneath an uptown No. 2 train, more than a dozen onlookers across the platform knelt, bent over and laid flat on the cold concrete to snap photos with their cellphones and catch a glimpse of the victim.
“Get up off the platform,” one officer yelled as the police tried to disperse the crowd. “We got one person on the tracks, we don’t need another.”
Suicide deaths in New York City’s subway system are not uncommon, with dozens every year, but two recent high-profile cases of people being pushed to their deaths on subway tracks have stirred a lingering fear held by many city dwellers.
The police did not immediately identify the victim, but said the person was a man. At least three witnesses, though, said the person appeared to be a young woman.
“Damn, she was that stressed?” said one person on the southbound platform. “Her life was just starting.”
“It’s ended now,” said another.
Christopher Velez, 22, said he saw a young woman step in front of the oncoming train.
She was wearing a blue warm-up suit and standing on the platform by herself, he said, when, without a word of warning, she stepped in front of the oncoming train.
“She was on her own and just quiet,” he said. As the train screeched to a halt, he said, “a lot of people were screaming and crying.”
“I cried for a little bit,” he said.
Still shaken, he added, “I really don’t feel like taking the subway anymore.”
Javina Pilgrim, 34, was on the train that hit the victim.
“These trains really should slow down when they are coming into the station,” she said.
It was not the first time she had witnessed such an episode. Several years ago, she said, she was waiting for the train at the 96th Street station when someone was struck.
On Tuesday, it quickly became clear that the victim was dead.
Workers wrapped the body in a white bag, secured it with red straps and pulled it from under the train.
The aftermath on the tracks was captured by more than a dozen onlookers on their smartphones.
Joseph Sexton contributed reporting.