US & Canada

Washington Metro smoke tragedy: Report confirms delays

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Media captionPassenger: "You couldn't see from one end of the train to the other"

Passengers on a subway in Washington DC filling with smoke waited for more than half an hour before emergency responders arrived, says a city report.

One woman died and 83 people were hospitalised after an electrical fault caused hundreds to evacuate L'Enfant Plaza station on Wednesday.

At least two passengers are planning to sue the train operator for negligence.

The Washington Metro system serves a population of five million, including transport to nearby states.

It is the US's second busiest mass transit system after New York.

More than $14,000 (£9,223) had been raised online by Thursday afternoon to cover funeral costs for the deceased passenger, Carol Glover.

A preliminary timeline report released by the city administrator confirmed 27 minutes elapsed between the first report of smoke and when passengers were still asking emergency services if help was coming. It came shortly afterwards.

"Those people should not have been trapped like rats in a subway car filling with smoke," the lawyer representing the claimants, Kim Brooks-Rodney, told reporters on Thursday.

"Something broke down and we're going to find out what it is."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Some passengers left the train as it filled with smoke

The report also said the ambulance did not take Ms Glover to hospital until more than an hour after the smoke was first reported.

Her family has said they are not rushing to judgement but want to wait on the investigation.

Passengers on the train described train cars filling with smoke after the train stopped shortly

One said the train's operator told passengers the problem was temporary and the train would be moving back into the station.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Smoke filled the train cars as passengers waited for help

Many passengers finally decided to evacuate on their own with some reaching the station just as responders were entering the tunnel.

"We were not given any information that police or fire were en route, or nearby," said Luis Clemens, who left the train.

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