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Lincoln Tunnel Motorcycle Accident Injures Dozens of People

By Nicole Bode | February 24, 2011 7:59am | Updated on February 24, 2011 3:56pm

By Benjamin Fractenberg, Patrick Hedlund, Olivia Scheck and Nicole Bode

DNAinfo Staff

MANHATTAN — A motorcycle driver was in critical condition after a collision with three buses closed part of the Lincoln Tunnel during the Thursday morning rush, officials said.

The unidentified man on the motorcycle was taken to Bellevue Hospital at 7:26 a.m., where he was being treated for a broken shoulder and femur, fire officials said.

He had been pinned under a bus and was intubated as of 11 a.m., according to the FDNY and members of the NYPD Emergency Service unit who said they were at the scene.

The emergency service officers said they were able to lift the bus and rescue the motorcyclist, later removing the doors of the vehicle to free the passengers inside.

Overall, 52 people sustained injuries in the crash, with 14 of them taken to Roosevelt and Bellevue hospitals, fire officials said. Their conditions were not immediately clear.

Passenger Robert Seaton, 47, was asleep when the accident happened.

"I was woken up completely by the accident," Seaton told DNAinfo. "Then I passed out again."

He suffered a broken nose, he said. He remembered passengers checking on each other to make sure they were all OK.

"Everyone was bleeding," Seaton said. "Blood from their mouth, from their nose, from their eyes."

Alicia Stewart, whose mother-in-law Irene Stewart was on one of the buses, said she was "shaken up" by the crash, while entering Bellevue Hospital to visit her on Thursday afternoon.

"She thought it was an explosion," Stewart added, based on an earlier conversation with her mother-in-law.

The accident, which involved two NJTransit buses and one Munsey Tourbus, occurred in the tunnel's center tube where traffic was heading into Manhattan, according to the Port Authority.

Traffic was shut down in that tunnel, but continued to flow in both directions through the other two tubes as of 10 a.m.

The accident occurred as the motorcyclist was riding in between two of the buses, a police source told the New York Daily News. One of the buses stopped and the other one crashed into it, pinning the motorcyclist, the source told the paper.

Social media users were tweeting updates from inside the blocked tube.

"Grateful that I'm stuck in bus behind this accident & not in it. Motorcycle, 3 buses crash in Lincoln Tunnel," user "KateBird" posted around 9:45 a.m.

The Hoboken mom later tweeted that her bus was being backed out of the tunnel. Bird said that her bus had escaped from the tunnel and then reentered through a different tube and emerged on the Manhattan side around 10:40 a.m.

"Think I'll take the PATH home!" Bird tweeted after the ordeal.

Lincoln Tunnel drivers should expect delays of more than 90 minutes, according to the Port Authority's website.

The Holland Tunnel and George Washington Bridges were experiencing delays of roughly 45 and 30 minutes, respectively, due to the increased volume.

The Port Authority spokesman did not immediately have additional details about the crash.

NJ Transit buses were expected to have delays of up to an hour, an agency spokesman said. Passengers were being diverted to trains to reduce traffic.