Hello? I'm on the train. I can't speak now, my phone's in the lavatory

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The Independent US

Never use your mobile phone while at the wheel of your car. We know that.

But what about banning the use of mobiles while on public transport, especially in the confines of the lavatories? One unexpected jolt of the train or the plane and the device could tumble down the pan.

That would be crazy, of course. Any fool can hold their phone and reach for the flush at the same time. But not so Edwin Gallart, a hapless New York commuter who somehow lost his grip on his mobile while relieving himself on the northbound 6.19am train out of Grand Central on Thursday.

So it was that Mr Gallart, 41, found himself on his knees thrusting his hand and forearm down the stainless steel bowl in a desperate attempt to rescue the mobile he had dropped. In his anxiety, he delved a little too deeply.

What followed was a scatological farce that snarled up the entire network of the Metro North Railroad for the rest of the morning rush-hour. Thousands of commuters were inconvenienced - and thousands of dollars were lost to the railway - because Mr Gallart's arm was stuck.

After determined but fruitless tugging on the shoulders of Mr Gallart, the company concluded there was nothing to be done but halt the train two stops out of Manhattan and call the fire brigade. Only when firemen sliced up the toilet did Mr Gallart regain his arm and his freedom. As for the phone, it was never found.