Man Briefly Trapped When New Forest Hills Subway Elevator Breaks Down

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on May 12, 2014 11:56am 

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 An elderly man was trapped inside.
New Elevator at Forest Hills Subway Station Breaks Down After One Day
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QUEENS — A man was briefly trapped in a newly opened elevator at the Forest Hills subway station Saturday after it broke down, witnesses and the FDNY said.

The elevator, which opened on Friday afternoon after two-and-a-half years of construction, stopped working on Saturday morning and was out of service for more than a day, according to the MTA.

The FDNY responded to the scene after getting a call about the trapped man at 11:20 a.m. and the incident was closed out about 25 minutes later, a spokeswoman said. No medical assistance was needed.

Resident Stephen Melnick said rescuers "had to pry the door open" to get the man out. After that, the man said that "he was OK and just walked away," Melnick said.

"That was scary," Melnick said. "How many times did they test it? Hopefully it won't happen again."

Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said in an email that the man was trapped for about 10 minutes and the agency contacted the contractor to fix the equipment, which was under warranty.

"[The] contractor made repairs...and the elevator was returned to customer service at 4:30 p.m. [Sunday]," Ortiz said on Monday morning.

The elevator, one of three newly opened at the station last week, is the only one that goes from street level to the station.

Work at the 71st Avenue station, where the E, F, R and M lines stop, started about two-and-a-half years ago and was initially scheduled to be completed in January 2014.

The $24.7 million project was delayed, in part because of problems related to Hurricane Sandy.

The Forest Hills station is among the busiest in Queens. It ranks fifth in ridership in the borough, with average weekday ridership of about 27,000 people, according to the MTA.

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