Investigators looking into a New York City subway outage that lasted several hours discovered on Friday that the incident was likely due to someone accidentally hitting an “Emergency Power Off” button.
In reports released by New York Gov. Kathy HochulKathy HochulNew York hospitals brace for mass staff shortages as vaccine deadline looms Meghan, Prince Harry visit One World Trade Center NY health chief criticized over state's COVID-19 response resigns MORE (D), who commissioned a review of the Aug. 29 disruption of operation control centers across the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), investigators found that there was a “strong possibility” the button was pressed by mistake due to the fact that the plastic guard created to prevent such situations was missing, according to The Associated Press.
The August outage reportedly affected over 80 trains spanning the subway system's numbered lines and L train.
“New Yorkers deserve absolute confidence in a fully functioning subway system, and it is our job to restore that confidence,” Hochul said in a statement, according to the AP.
The button was pushed during a brief power dip in which several pieces of New York City Transit Rail Control Center's mechanical equipment stopped working. Once the button was hit, it caused all electrical equipment to lose power, the AP reported.
Officials told the news outlet that service was further delayed from being restored in a timely manner on that day due to train passengers exiting onto the tracks instead of waiting for service to resume. They added that the loss of power was due to human error.
Janno Lieber, who is the MTA acting chair and chief executive officer, told the AP that the agency is actively working to better manage and maintain the systems that support the control center.