Friday, December 14, 2012

Year in Review: MTA workers free whale from flooded NYC Subway tunnel 3 weeks after Sandy hits

New York City--Marine biologists called it a miracle when, on the day before Thanksgiving, transit workers freed SoFe the whale (named after the South Ferry subway station and pronounced Sophie) from a NYC subway tunnel via crane. It is believed that the record storm surge brought on by Hurricane Sandy carried SoFe into the station entrance, then the confused and frightened mammal attempted to swim down in order to escape trouble, where she became trapped inside the subway tunnel. Workers discovered SoFe on November 1, 2012, while pumping out the water from the submerged tracks. "I was connecting several hoses near the waters edge when I saw this huge mass moving toward me," said Brian McDevon, an MTA maintenance engineer. "I screamed, then SoFe let out a big blow. She was very friendly." It took whale specialists, engineers, and marine biologists nearly three weeks to free the whale because of her large size and unstable condition. "She was banged up a bit swimming down the stairs and she also had some turnstile scuff marks. She needed rest and time to recover before being moved," said McDevon. Workers provided SoFe great care during her time spent in the subway. And, residents from the surrounding neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan brought a variety of plankton-based dishes to feed her and help sustain her blubber before being released into the Atlantic Ocean on Thanksgiving Day.

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