Metro passenger dies traveling on Red Line

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A man who boarded a Metro subway train in Montgomery County on Monday morning was found dead in the same train five hours later, the transit system said.

Metro said in a statement that the death was probably the result of natural causes, but no detailed information on a cause could be learned. It was also unclear when the man might have died during a period in which the train traveled much of the Red Line in both directions.

Metro did not give the man's name or any other details about him.

It was also unclear why the man was not spotted when the train was inspected before being taken out of service at one point. Metro said it would review its procedures.

No similar incident could be recalled in recent years on Metro, which is the nation's second busiest rail rapid transit system, carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers daily.

As recounted Tuesday by Metro, based on a preliminary investigation, the man apparently boarded the train at the Twinbrook Station about 10:15 a.m.

He remained onboard as the train headed south into the District and then on to Silver Spring. After the train turned around there, the man apparently was still onboard as it headed back into the District, and then on to the Red Line terminal at Shady Grove.

At Shady Grove, it was taken out of service about 11:55 a.m. and went into the rail yard there.

The body, which apparently had remained on the train, in the yard, for three hours, was found at 2:55 p.m. as the train was prepared for afternoon service.

According to Metro, emergency personnel were summoned, and the man was pronounced dead. The agency said he was in the last car of eight.

With no information available as to just when the man might have died or lost consciousness, it appeared impossible Tuesday to determine whether prompt medical intervention might have saved him.

Nothing could be learned about his age or previous medical history.

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