Late Sunday into the early hours of Monday morning, half the New York City subway system went dark and stranded hundreds, if not thousands of passengers.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters outside the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Headquarters in Lower Manhattan about the incident. She called it an "unprecedented system breakdown" that led to half of the nation's largest subway system losing power around 2100 ET Sunday and restored around 0130 ET Monday.
Governor Hochul said Con Edison reported power issues around 2030 ET Sunday "that resulted in a voltage dip across New York City." She said the outage was "momentary," and backup power generation systems kicked in. "But when they tried to go back to normal, there was a surge — an unprecedented surge — that resulted in the subway losing signalization and communication ability," she said. "The confluence of events that led to this has never happened before to our knowledge."
Hochul said more than 500 people exited crippled subway cars and walked the tracks to the nearest terminal. That in itself led to further delays.
"We never, ever want riders to do that," she said. "It is dangerous and causes a delay in the restoration of power."
Around the time of the outage, social media reports show a utility hole fire in Long Island City, Queens. Though Hochul said, the subway breakdown appears unrelated.
A manhole in LIC was undergoing maintenance and exploded. All the lights dimmed throughout NYC around 8:20pm and the explosion even set a car on fire. I saw the fireball from my window and caught the seconds after: https://t.co/TVNEXdEXwW pic.twitter.com/92xtltBGXN— Morgan (@Haazaa_Moto) August 30, 2021
Video shows FDNY firefighters lifting people off the tracks into safety.
A momentary power surge disrupted half of the New York City subway system for several hours and stranded hundreds of passengers, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.— The Jewish Voice (@JewishVoice) August 30, 2021
The unprecedented breakdown affected more than 80 trains @MTA @NYCSubwayLine @GovKathyHochul #NYC pic.twitter.com/SrU0baJBW5
One subway rider told ABC7 New York:
"They kept saying they don't know what's going on. But an hour and 36 minutes we were trapped on the train. A long time. Kids, children, no water, nothing," one woman said.
There's still no word on what sparked the outage.