Dozens of BART passengers witnessed the grim death of a man who stepped into the path of a southbound train at the bustling Civic Center Station on Saturday afternoon.
Witnesses to the event say the man climbed down from the platform near the northern tunnel opening just before noon and was immediately struck and swept under the train, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.
The Daly City-bound train was traveling roughly 30 mph when it struck the man, he said.
“There was no time to brake,” Johnson said. “There was literally nothing [the train operator] could do.”
The incident shut down the Civic Center Station for nearly three hours and caused “massive” delays across the entire BART system.
BART officials first had to shut off the electricity to the tracks so emergency responders could reach the man, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.
Passengers reported 50-minute-long waits as police and fire officials worked to remove the body and inspect the tracks.
Trains coming from the East Bay were turned around at the Montgomery Street station, Johnson said. The only line that was running to the Peninsula was the Pittsburg-Bay Point route.
Service was restored to the Civic Center Station around 2:45 p.m. and all BART trains were running on time by about 3:30 p.m., Johnson said.
The operator of the train that struck the man will be placed on paid administrative leave, given a drug test and offered counseling, per standard procedure, Johnson said.
The man who died was not immediately identified.
It was the second incident of the day in which passengers had to be evacuated from a downtown BART station. About three hours earlier, the Montgomery Street Station was temporarily closed after a suspicious package was found at the concourse level. The package, which appeared to be some kind of battery pack, turned out to be harmless and service delays were minimal, Johnson said.
About two or three people die on BART tracks each year and most are suicides, Johnson said.
In June, a woman who climbed onto the tracks at the Montgomery Street Station actually survived an apparent suicide attempt.
Witnesses who saw the event said she laid down on the tracks just as a train approached and somehow escaped with barely a scratch.
Bay City News contributed to this report.