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Dozens injured when two NYC trains collide during morning rush

November 20, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ A morning rush hour collision between two subway trains in a tunnel scattered straphangers like bowling pins Thursday, sending 87 people to hospitals with mostly minor injuries.

Dian Duke was among 1,000 passengers who were rattled and rolled after one train rear-ended another on a curve just outside a station in Queens, tying up subway traffic in the borough.

``All of a sudden, we had a big boom and everybody was scattered all over the place,″ said Ms. Duke, who works for the city Department of Environmental Protection. ``At first, I thought a bomb had gone off. Everybody was crying.″

Ms. Duke smacked her head into a metal pole. Bumps, bruises and the occasional bloody nose were the most prevalent injuries. One person broken an arm and another a collarbone.

Two firefighters were injured while helping passengers out of the tunnel and up to the street.

Transit officials were investigating the cause of the slow-speed crash. A union official, Corine Scott-Mack, said a witness blamed the subway’s signal system, telling authorities that a red warning light had turned green before the crash.

The eastbound G train was pulling out of the Steinway Street station when it collided with the stopped R train, authorities said. Joe Hofmann, a Transit senior vice president, said it was possible the crew of the G train didn’t see the other train.

Authorities complimented passengers on their cool response.

``They took it in stride,″ police Sgt. Jack Cambria said. ``That’s typical of New Yorkers.″

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