An emotionally disturbed woman who somehow scared riders on a B train near Central Park West sparked a panic at the height of Wednesday's morning rush, with straphangers tweeting about "mass evacuations" and "people stampeding," authorities said.
A law enforcement official said the woman apparently frightened some people; some witnesses said she threatened riders with a knife, but the specific nature of the woman's behavior wasn't clear. Fire officials said they received a report of a stabbing on the train at the 81st Street-Museum of Natural History stop, but police said the 8:35 a.m. call came over as an assault in progress.
Ultimately, no weapon was found and no injuries were reported, officials said. The woman was taken into custody. She was seen standing calmly, looking a little dazed, as police swooped in. She was led away in handcuffs and placed in a waiting ambulance. It wasn't clear if she would face charges.
At least two riders tweeted about police activity in the area. They said half the people ran off the train at 81st Street, and that many of them were screaming.
Video shows at least one NYPD cruiser racing to the scene, sirens blaring.
Reddit user Sherlock_House said he was in the car with the emotionally disturbed woman when she started screaming and fighting with another rider. He said people in his car started moving away to escape the fight and riders in other cars saw them flee, which led to abject panic.
Another Reddit user described the chaos.
"I was in the next car and people started screaming and running off the train saying some kid was going crazy and stabbing people," user ms23789 said. "It all seems silly in retrospect but when people are running and saying someone is stabbing people, you're not really inclined to stick around to check it out."
The MTA said there had been some delays in the area, but trains were running as of 9 a.m.