- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2011

A Metro passenger threatened to blow up a train Monday at the Rockville station, sending passengers out emergency exits and scrambling along two miles of live track to escape during the busy morning rush hour, officials said.

Witnesses said the episode began at about 7:45 a.m., when the female passenger threatened to blow up a Red Line train, shouting, “You killed my family. Now I’m going to kill you.”

No explosive device was found, and no injuries were reported, said Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Ron Pavlik.

The passenger has been identified only as a 51-year-old Indian woman from McLean, who has a permanent U.S. resident card. She was arrested outside the station, near the “Kiss and Ride” parking lot entrance, while at tempting to leave the scene, then taken to a nearby hospital. The passenger was later taken to a facility that better handles mental issues. No charges have been filed yet, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

Chief Pavlik credited the quick actions of passengers on the inbound train, who used the emergency intercom to communicate the bomb threat to the train operator, who cut power on the tracks and stopped the train before the last car could leave the platform.

The eight-car train was carrying about 250 to 300 passengers, most of whom walked car-to-car to exit through the doors next to the platform. However, about 35 used the emergency handles on other doors to escape, then maneuvered along the above-ground tracks to the Twinbrook rail station, roughly two miles away.

As a result of the power being cut, a “nearly empty” train was stranded on the tracks between Rockville and Shady Grove, forcing passengers to wait about 45 minutes for the power to be restored,Mr. Stessel said.

Power between Shady Grove and Twinbrook was shut down for about two hours so Metro and Montgomery County emergency and police crews could clear the rails and search for an explosive.

Mr. Stessel said Metro ran announcements of “major delays on the Red Line” and a “unique police situation” rather than formally announcing a bomb threat because “there’s a balance between properly informing and not creating a panic.”

Mr. Stessel also stressed walking along the rails should only be used as “a last-resort option.”



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