Officials reveal cause of fatal Washington subway evacuation

A woman died and at least two people were critically injured after smoke filled a subway car in downtown Washington on Monday afternoon. An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board said electrical arcing involving the charged third rail ahead of the train filled the tunnel with smoke. The investigator added that the train, which was headed toward the Pentagon, did not derail and that there was no fire inside.

[Washington Metro] suffered its worst incident in June 2009, when one train slammed into the rear of a second train that had come to a stop. Nine people were killed and more than 70 injured.

AFP reports

A total of 84 patients were transported to area hospitals, and scores more were evaluated at the scene. The incident on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority caused rush-hour mayhem in the nation’s second-busiest mass transit system after New York. Washington’s Metro system serves five million people in the District of Columbia, and neighboring Virginia and Maryland.