2:37 PM PDT, September 3, 2021
Forty minutes after leaving New York’s Penn Station, a train full of passengers came to a grinding halt after the remnants of Hurricane Ida brought a deluge of rain to the area. They would stay trapped there for nearly 12 hours.
“I really thought I was going to die. I can’t swim. The water was as high as, I would say, the window,” Tia Brown told Inside Edition.
Then, the lights went out, along with proper ventilation. Brown suffered a panic attack as she found herself in total darkness.
Another passenger recorded video as the train stopped.
“There’s no water. There’s no lights. There’s, I think, one functioning bathroom,” she said.
Rescue crews waded through knee-deep water, but couldn’t help the trapped passengers due to the unprecedented flooding. The decision was made not to evacuate the passengers until the flooding subsided.
The nightmare commute finally came to an end the following morning at Newark Airport.
A New Jersey Transit spokesperson defended keeping the people on the train, saying it was the safest choice, because the train cars were elevated above the flood waters. They said that the decision resulted in no injuries to customers or crew.