Video: Tens of thousands of Chilean commuters locked in train carriages without lights after power cut shuts down underground network

It is the second power cut to affect the Santiago underground system in a week

It is any commuter’s worst nightmare.

After a long day at work, you find yourself stuck on a packed Tube carriage - in complete darkness.

Well, that was the reality for more than 50,000 Chileans living in the country’s capital Santiago on Wednesday.

A power cut on Wednesday night, led to seven trains on some of Santiago’s main commuter lines grinding to a halt.

According to reports from the Chilean media, the power cut happened shortly after 7pm and saw thousands of cramped commuters locked in carriages travelling from the west to the south of the city for nearly 40 minutes - without access to water or fresh air.

Footage taken by the commuters showed packed carriages filled with anxious commuters banging at doors and screaming for help as they tried to get off the trains.

Video: Passengers trapped on train carriages for nearly an hour

When underground workers were eventually able to gain access to the trains and open the doors, commuters were escorted down the train lines and evacuated to nearby stations.

The failure of the train system had a knock-on effect, with major traffic jams and an over-crowding of the city bus service occurring as a result of the power cut.

It is the second time that a power failure has led to Santiago’s tube system coming to a standstill in the past fortnight.

Last week, thousands of commuters in the south-east of the city were affected when a fault on one of the lines led to stations in the area being closed for over 24 hours.

As a result of the recent transport problems, there has been a wave of criticism directed at the government and those executives responsible for running the underground network.

Senior politician for the country’s Independent Democratic Union party, Gustavo Hasbun, told The Satiago Times:  “President Michelle Bachelet must assume the responsibility that befalls her for having politicized [the Santiago Metro Company] now that we can clearly see that the managers in charge don’t have experience running public transport. The company does not have suitable executives.”

In reaction to the criticism, Santiago Metro Company commercial manager Alvaro Caballero accepted responsibility for the latest incident, but argued that the Santiago underground system was by no means a “broken system”.

 “I have to take responsibility and say that it’s impossible to guarantee there being no failures. There is no such system of this kind in the world that doesn’t experience failure,” he told The Cooperativa.

Adding: ““A broken system is one in which nothing moves. We transfer more than 2 million people on a daily basis.” 

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