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Drill Bit Plows Into Subway Tunnel, Grazes Train Car In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An enormous drill bit plowed right into a subway tunnel and grazed an occupied F Train in Queens on Thursday.

The train had just pulled out of the 21st Street station in Long Island City, Queens, around 11:45 a.m., when the drill bit plowed into the occupied subway car, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority confirmed to CBS2.

"That could have killed somebody. That could have hurt somebody," said Trinidad Casas of Long Island City.

"I don't even know how that's possible, so yeah, that's pretty scary," Anthony Jerez of Long Island City.

The drilling was part of the East Side Access project to bring the Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal, officials said. A worker employed by a contractor -- Griffin Dewatering New England Inc. -- was using the drill above ground near the station, and was supposed to be expanding a construction well, officials said.

As CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco reported, pictures showed the massive construction bit that pierced through the tunnel. The MTA described the drill bit as being 10 inches in diameter, and said it struck the steel frame of the subway car and shattered the glass of its windows.

The drill bit did not enter the car, the MTA said.

A total of 800 people were on the F Train at the time. No one was injured by the drill bit, officials said.

But straphangers who saw the picture of the drilling mishap wanted answers.

"I would wonder how that happened, who's to blame, why would that happen during such a busy rush hour – yeah, I would definitely be curious," Casas said.

"They're supposed to be professionals, they're supposed to be doing what they're supposed to be doing," Jerez said. "They're getting money. You know, the city is paying them -- paying a lot of tax money."

The conductor applied the emergency brakes when the drill bit came down, the MTA said.

Passengers on the train were directed to walk through a second relief train that came to the scene, and back to the 21st Street station, according to a New York Daily News report.

CBS 2 reached out to Griffin Dewatering, but has not heard back.

The MTA said it will continue to investigate.

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