Metro-North officials say they are investigating reports that a crew member made crude remarks that were accidentally broadcast over the public address system after a train hit and killed a New York City high school student in the Bronx Monday.
The Fordham Preparatory School student jumped in front of an oncoming Metro-North train at Botanical Gardens Monday evening, killing himself. Police activity at the station snarled the evening rush commute, backing up trains on two lines and stranding thousands of commuters at Grand Central Terminal.
A crew member on one of the many stuck trains shared his view of the situation in a vulgar manner over the PA system, according to reports on social media.
"Conductor on our @MetroNorth train intercom hearing the news, 'Someone got killed! I hope the [expletive] suffered.' #metronorth #speechless," one rider posted on Twitter.
Another Twitter user posted a text message from a passenger that made it seem the crew member accidentally hit the PA system, rather than an internal radio system for staff.
"I hear the mic key up followed up by trainwide broadcast in the most Bronx accent, 'Yeah, I think some guy got killed, I hope he suffered like a [expletive]," read a screenshot of the text message, posted to Twitter by Katrina Lipinsky.
Despite frustrations over the backed-up service from that night, Metro-North passengers Wednesday couldn't believe a crew member would use such foul language.
"That's messed up. I would never hope anybody would suffer," said Robair Aldaya of the Greenwich Village.
Ashley Knapp of East Harlem was in the front car of the train the student jumped in front of. She was in shock, but said the conductors on her train "were professional and upset."
"I know a lot of people were frustrated," she added. "Our hearts go out to the family."
The MTA said in a statement: "Such language has no place on Metro-North Rail Road. We are aware of the very serious allegation and are looking into it. "
The MTA won't say where it is in that investigation or whether it's identified that crew member.
The teen was the second Fordham Prep student who killed himself by jumping in front of a train in two weeks. Dr. Moira Rynn, the head of Child Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, suggested to NBC 4 New York Tuesday that it may have been a case of "suicide contagion."
Suicide contagion is a known phenomenon where people considering ending their life are influenced by other people who kill themselves. There is evidence that suggests such suicides may happen in "clusters" or "outbreaks" amid media coverage.
Rynn encouraged family members to talk to their children if they're worried they'd ever thought about committing suicide.
"Sometimes parents are afraid to ask," she said. "They almost feel like if they ask those hard questions, that maybe it will cause something to happen or make something get worse. And we really know that it doesn't."
Parents or anyone else concerned a child may commit suicide should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-237-8255 to be connected with a trained counselor. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.