The episode intensified scrutiny of New York's antiquated subway system - one of the world's busiest, with more than 5.6 million average daily trips - which has drawn the ire of riders as delays soar and incidents build up.
Passengers evacuate from a train in the dark following a subway train incident in the Manhattan borough of New York, United States June 27, 2017, in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. Earlier today, an A train derailed in Harlem, causing significant delays; passengers had to climb from the auto and exit through the subway tunnel. The train cars crashed into a wall near the 125th St station in northern Manhattan, newly-minted Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) chief Joseph Lhota said.
At least 34 people had injuries including smoke inhalation, though all were expected to be OK, fire officials said.
"Storing equipment in between tracks is a common practice employed by railroads across the country to accelerate rail repairs", the MTA said in a statement late Tuesday.
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The MTA released a statement later that night to say the cause of the derailment was not a track defect, but instead 'appears to be human error, ' according to CBS New York.
Two cars in the Brooklyn-bound A train careened off the tracks after the emergency brake was activated.
"It was travelling at a normal pace when suddenly, it was like a horse that rears, it has been cast in the top, bottom, all sides", said a traveler to NY 1. He said he didn't know yet if a passenger had pulled the emergency brake.
Three other trains were in the tunnel at the time of the derailment, he said.
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The BET Awards were somewhat a capstone to African-American Music Appreciation Month, also known as Black Music Month. Still, he went on to say that he must first focus on himself before he can focus on the world.
He said riders ended up walking through the darkened cars using cellphones for light and exiting onto the platform.
The South Ferry station opened at noon Tuesday, almost five years after it was flooded by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.
Lhota oversaw the subway system's recovery after it was flooded by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
That initiative directs $14 billion over five years toward improving the subway system. A report earlier this month found rush-hour cancellations and delays on New York's Long Island Rail Road are at the highest level in 10 years.
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