A college student planning to kill himself inside a Lower Manhattan subway tunnel provoked a short-lived terrorism scare early Friday morning, police said.
Aaron Fetto, 20, of Manhattan, was carrying pellets of sodium cynanide, a toxic jewelry cleaner, when transit workers on a work train spotted him walking in a tunnel under the East River about 5:30 a.m.
At first they mistook Fetto for a track worker and brought him on board because he was wearing a hard hat, reflective safety vest and knee-high yellow boots. However, they quickly turned him over to police at the Bowling Green station.
Emergency service unit police scoured nearby tracks and tunnels looking for suspicious materials but found none and determined that Fetto was not a terrorist.
Fetto, of John Street, told police that he was depressed and had been searching underground for an isolated alcove in the tunnel where his body would remain hidden after he had swallowed the sodium cyanide. He was carrying a quart container of sodium cyanide pellets, two bottles of water and five highways flares in his backpack.
While not explosive, sodium cyanide is highly toxic and fatal if swallowed. It's normally used to clean jewelry.