Many have seen the shocking video from the incident at Harvard Station in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but now we're hearing from the woman carrying the backpack who was nearly hit by an aluminum ceiling panel that came crashing down Wednesday afternoon on the T stop platform.
"To look back at the footage and see how close it was to potentially falling one me was hard to see," Cianna Navarro told NBC10 Boston on Saturday. "At the moment I didn't know what had fallen. I was in such a state of shock. I couldn't really wrap my head around everything until I left the train station and I stopped and went to the sidewalk and just stood there to gather myself."
MBTA officials say the panel in question weighs about five pounds but it was so wet that it was closer to 25 pounds when it fell down at the Red Line stop.
"I didn't really understand the severity of it until the MBTA came out and said it was up to 25 pounds," Navarro said. "Once I had gathered that information, it kind of felt like a second wave of shock, of understanding how bad it potentially could've been."
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The T says the panel showed signs of corrosion and that the panels are used for aesthetics and sound proofing. They say an inspection was done in 2021 and they didn't find any issues at the time. However, interim MBTA General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville has now ordered many similar non-structural panels to be removed systemwide as a precaution.
"In this particular case it's actually very difficult to get up and actually visibly be able to inspect the area which is again the reasons why I've given the orders that no, we're going to begin removing these panels so that our engineers that are doing these safety inspections of our stations will have the ability to be able to inspect these panels," Gonneville said.
Navarro says she knows just how lucky she is, acknowledging this situation could've been a lot worse.
"It's a scary situation for anyone but I'm glad I can look back and be grateful that it wasn't worse-case scenario," she said. "I am thankful physically nothing happened to be me but I also acknowledge that something like this shouldn't have to happen for them to investigate and make sure that the people of Boston are safe taking their public transportation."
"Who knows if more than one could've fallen at the same time and maybe the situation could've been a lot different for me personally or those around me," she added. "I would just hope they continue to look into not only the infrastructure of the T stations, but continue working on the T in general, just to make sure that the safety is there for everyone."
Gonneville also recognized how extremely fortunate they are that there wasn't an injury as a result of what happened, and he says they will be conducting a full audit of station ceilings across the T system -- a move that Navarro says she appreciates.