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TikTok partly to blame for teens injured, killed in Brooklyn subway surfing incident, Mayor Adams says

CBS2 speaks to dad of boy injured while riding on top of subway
CBS2 speaks to dad of boy injured while riding on top of subway 02:19

NEW YORK -- A teenager remains hospitalized in critical condition Friday after a deadly subway surfing incident in Brooklyn

New York City officials blamed social media, specifically TikTok, after the 14-year-old boy was seriously hurt and another 14-year-old boy was killed on Thursday. 

Officials said the boys were riding on top of a Manhattan-bound L train and were knocked off when it entered a tunnel. 

"Both were found underneath a northbound L train," said NYPD Chief of Transportation Michael Kemper. "Both of them had serious trauma to their bodies and tragically one was pronounced deceased." 

It happened Thursday afternoon when the train was approaching the Bushwick Avenue-Aberdeen Street station. 

CBS2's Naveen Dhaliwal spoke through a translator to the father of the teenager who was seriously hurt.

Kleber Garcia was exhausted after spending hours next to his son Widinson's bedside in the hospital.

"He feels very sad and shocked about it because he doesn't expect his son to do this," the translator said.

Garcia said Widinson just graduated on Wednesday, and now, the translator says, "His son is awake. He is alright, but he's got a fractured hip."

The translator added, "When his son woke up, he told his dad about the incident, that he was on the train and his friends told him to get down, but it was too late."

The incident has left two families devastated.

"They were sons to him, even [the teenager who died] was like a son to him. They were like brothers and knew each other since they were young," the translator said.

Watch Natalie Duddridge's report

Adams blames TikTok for teen killed in subway surfing incident 02:01

Subway riders said they see subway surfers too often. 

"It's just a joyride ... They have to be more conscious of their situation, their decisions," one rider said. 

"Ever since they made trains, they've been doing that," another rider said. 

"I think that it's a tragedy because their parents are not teaching them what is danger and what it not," said Victor Cruz.

"It seems social media has gotten ahold of it, and the kids have gotten ahold of it ... I know as a parent, I'm concerned," one parent said.

An elementary school student named Alfonso told us his father warned him never to subway surf. 

"I wouldn't do that because that would be really dangerous and I might get hurt," said Alfonso. 

Mayor Eric Adams said he believes teens are being influenced by social media videos glorifying surfing on trains. 

"I am calling today for TikTok to ban these videos immediately and take them down," said Adams. 

TikTok said it has a team of thousands who work to remove harmful videos. 

"Our deepest sympathies go out to family and friends of the young person involved in this incident. This dangerous activity predates our platform, and we strictly remove such content if we see it on TikTok. More than 40,000 safety professionals are dedicated to keeping our community safe and work diligently to remove harmful content when found," a TikTok spokesperson said.

In May, the city launched a public service campaign urging people not to ride on top of the trains. 

Statistics showed subway surfing incidents rose by 366% between 2021 and 2022. 

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