A man died Sunday afternoon at the Seventh Avenue F/G subway station after falling onto the tracks below, apparently while walking between train cars, police say.
Witnesses told police that the man, who has not been identified, had been moving between cars when he fell onto the tracks and was run over by the F-train, which was pulling out of the station on the northbound tracks according to an MTA spokesperson. The Manhattan-bound F-train’s brakes were activated after hitting the man, the MTA reported on Twitter; service on the F and G lines was suspended south of Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street as first responders attempted to tend to the man. Police said he was pronounced dead at the scene.
A police spokesperson said that there was no indication of criminality involved, meaning no one had pushed the man to his death, but that it remains unclear whether the man purposefully jumped or accidentally fell.
Though walking between train cars is a common occurrence, it’s something the MTA consistently warns its customers to refrain from doing while a train is in motion, often in the form of overhead public address announcements. Those warnings resulted in a public information campaign back in 2019 after seven people lost their lives while moving, or riding, between train cars. An MTA spokesperson said that the agency does not regularly track whether those fatally struck by trains were in-between cars.
The number of “track intrusions” in the subway system, wherein a passenger illegally enters the subway tracks, has risen in the past several years according to the MTA, clocking in at 1,267 reported instances in 2021, up from 1,062 in 2019. Of those 1,267 intrusions, 200 ended with trains striking passengers, with 68 people fatally struck last year.
The issue has come to a fore in 2022 since the January death of Michelle Go, who was pushed onto the train tracks to her death by a mentally ill homeless man at the Times Square station. After advocates argued that platform doors, which prevent unauthorized track access when trains aren’t in the station and are standard in many subway systems worldwide, could have saved Go’s life, the MTA published a nearly-4,000 page report finding that platform doors were infeasible at most of its stations, and would cost billions of dollars to install at the feasible ones.
Nonetheless, the authority announced last month that it would soon be piloting platform doors at three stations in the five boroughs.