KEY POINTS

  • 2 homeless men found dead in NYC subways
  • Bodies found within 12-hour period
  • First body found on Friday night, man, 56
  • Second body, man, 61, found Monday morning
  • Authorities unclear whether COVID-19-related or other factors

Two homeless men were found dead on New York City subway trains within a 12-hour period and caused a stir among Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees.

MTA workers were alarmed upon the discovery of the two bodies amid their struggle with the “vagrants in the system” in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Post reported.

“The homeless situation is out of control,” Eddie, a train operator who found one of the bodies on the C train said. “You don’t even know if the man died of coronavirus.”

According to police reports, transit workers found the first body around 9:30 on Friday (May 1) on a C train at 168th Street station in Washington Heights whom police identified as a 56-year-old man.

Meanwhile the cops also reported that passersby found the second body “unconscious and unresponsive” on a 4 train at the Utica Avenue station in Brooklyn at 8:20 AM on Saturday (May 2) and straphangers called 911.

He was identified as 61-year-old Robert Mangual, whom EM responders pronounced dead on the scene.

Cops identified both victims as homeless.

According to transit workers, the two deaths were “symptoms” of the on-going homeless crisis in New York’s subway system as straphangers refrain from frequenting the subways amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Two dead bodies in one 24-hour period is concerning to us,” a veteran MTA train operator and union representative Yann Hicks said. “Now there are two incidents in the past few days, and there could be more I don’t know about.”

Hicks added that the cause of death of the victims is still a hanging question and they are considering whether or not these were caused by the COVID-19 or caused by other factors such as overdose.

The situation has reportedly gotten out of control that even MTA employees don’t want to ride the rails.

“The trains are overwhelmed with homeless and you never know what’s going to happen,” Hicks said. “I have to walk through seven to 10 cars just to find a clean car, and be socially distant from vagrants on seats.”

The New York Post reported that almost 98 MTA workers, mostly working in the agency’s bus and subways, have died from the coronavirus and many others have fallen sick.

In another New York Post article, it was reported that New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared that effective on May 6, all train services would stop overnight between 1 AM to 5 AM to disinfect them daily.

Officers added that this would also allow the trains to be cleared as all riders will be told to leave the station upon disembarking.

According to the city Transit Office of System Safety, there had been 26 recorded deaths on MTA subways between January and April 2020, with 11 of them stemming from natural causes, and it was an increase from the 19 fatalities recorded last year, 2019, with nine of them dying from natural causes.

“These tragedies are heartbreaking and we are fully cooperating with the NYPD on their investigation,” MTA spokesman Ken Lovett said in a statement Sunday.

Homeless people take shelter at a New York subway station on April 13 Homeless people take shelter at a New York subway station on April 13 Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / SPENCER PLATT