Woman nearly hit by falling ceiling panel in Boston subway
A 10kg ceiling panel came crashing down from a subway ceiling in Boston, United States, missing university student Cianna Navarro by mere inches on March 1.
CCTV footage of the incident released last Friday showed the moment the panel collapsed in a heap of dust at Ms Navarro’s feet while she was walking towards the stairs in Harvard station.
In the footage, the 21-year-old Suffolk University student is seen standing there, looking stunned for a moment, before she sidesteps the panel and walks away.
“In the moment I was definitely very shaken up,” she told Boston-based media outlet WBZ last Friday.
“I was obviously in a state of shock. I didn’t really know what was happening, obviously I’m just walking off the (train) trying to get home and the ceiling comes crashing down.”
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) said in a Twitter post last Saturday that water had accumulated in the panel insulation over time and the metal rivets became too weak to hold up the 3m panel.
“We’re removing the remaining non-structural panels as a precaution and so we can thoroughly investigate the ceiling and source of water intrusion,” MBTA said, adding that the panels were installed in the 1980s and are used for aesthetics reason and soundproofing.
The panels are made of aluminum and weigh about 2kg. But because of moisture buildup, the panel that narrowly missed Ms Navarro is estimated to weigh 11kg, MBTA added.
It has since removed other panels that posed an immediate safety concern.
“Along with our daily station inspections, we’re performing an additional assessment of stations with similar paneling. The safety of our riders and employees is paramount,” the authority added.
Ms Navarro told WBZ that although she escaped unscathed, others might not have been so lucky.
“I hope change does happen because who knows what would have happened if I took one more step or if it was an elderly person or a child in that situation,” she said.
In an interview with 7News, she added: “It’s another layer of fear that’s added onto my commute, having to worry and look over my shoulder or look over my head. My life shouldn’t have to be put in danger for them to make necessary changes.”
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