Three women and two children were rescued from a stuck elevator at a light rail station in northeastern New Jersey Tuesday after a three-hour ordeal on a highly humid day that saw temperatures outside creep near 90 degrees, a spokeswoman for NJ Transit, which operates the station, said.
Initial attempts by fire crews to lower the elevator at the Bergenline Avenue Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station in Union City, which stopped functioning due to a mechanical problem shortly before 11 a.m, failed, the spokeswoman said.
Technicians then tried to manually operate the elevator, which was stuck about 35 feet below ground and about 35 feet above the track level, the spokeswoman said. At one point a rescuer was inside the elevator trying to transfer the victims.
Details of the rescue weren't immediately clear, but authorities said all five people were safe.
Chopper 4 footage from the scene showed dozens of emergency responders at the scene, as crowds of onlookers flooded the area. Parts of the building were cordoned off and at least two stretchers were seen on the sidewalk outside the building.
The NJ Transit spokeswoman said emergency responders communicated with the trapped people throughout the rescue process. A ventilation system was also moved into the elevator shaft to keep the air flowing.
Light rail service at the Bergenline Avenue station was shut down during the rescue operation and bus service was being used to provide alternate service for riders.
Rail service was expected to remain closed at the station for several hours. The Hudson Bergen Light Rail was making all other stops except for the Bergenline Avenue station.