Family grieves opera stagehand dragged to death after getting caught in NYC subway doors

NEW YORK — The hopes and desires of a younger Metropolitan Opera stagehand disappeared immediately beneath a No. 1 practice.

The household of Joseph Ancona, dragged to his dying after working to board an uptown Manhattan subway automobile following his Monday shift, was remembered as a vibrant younger man with an ever-present grin, a love of sports activities and a girlfriend of 4 years.

“He was just like the happiest-go-lucky,” his uncle Dan Coli instructed the Every day Information on Wednesday. “They referred to as him ‘Smiles,’ ‘trigger he at all times smiled and he was at all times laughing. … He was only a candy child.”

Ancona, 20, grew up within the north Jersey suburb of Westwood, the place the sports-loving man — a slender 5-foot-6 — was an avid golfer who additionally loved enjoying baseball and basketball. The son of a union electrician, he adopted his father into the enterprise, finally touchdown his job in Manhattan.

“We’re simply heartbroken,” his aunt Maria Ancona instructed The Information from her Brooklyn dwelling. “We are able to’t make sense of it. His dad and mom are distraught. How do you gear up for this sort of information? I nonetheless can’t consider this occurred. Past consideration.”

Joseph Ancona was caught because the doorways shut on the final automobile of a No. 1 practice at 4:56 p.m. Monday, police mentioned. He was killed after he tumbled to the Columbus Circle tracks. Ancona was working for the uptown practice that ran him down whereas exiting the station, with police sources saying it remained unclear precisely how the accident occurred.

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The sources mentioned investigators have been making an attempt to find out if his backpack was caught within the doorways or his foot was in some way snagged by the departing practice.

“All people needs guilty any individual as a result of it makes you’re feeling higher,” mentioned Coli. “It’s not going to deliver him again, it’s not going to make it any completely different. Nevertheless it simply looks like it was very preventable.”

Eyewitnesses contacted by a member of the family through Twitter steered the subway’s doorways closed shortly, with riders capable of exit however some unable to get on board.

The sufferer labored within the Metropolitan Opera crew’s electrical development store, with a Met spokeswoman recalling he was “revered and well-liked” after becoming a member of the employees simply seven months earlier.

“I’m nonetheless in shock,” his reeling grandmother mentioned Wednesday, whereas the household launched a press release on GoFundMe saying the younger sufferer “was beloved by so many.”

Ancona, who left behind a twin sister Gianna, commuted into the town from Bergen County by taking a bus and a practice every morning. Westwood police delivered the grim information to the household’s dwelling about two hours after the dying.

“He needed to get a home,” mentioned Coli, the brother of Ancona’s mother. “He had a girlfriend for a very long time. Actually candy lady. She goes to Penn State. Her dad and mom needed to go on the market and drive her dwelling and inform her.”

The GoFundMe assertion added a thanks for “prayers and condolences and … for pondering of our (us) on this troublesome time.”

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NYC Transit President Richard Davey described the dying as “a horrible accident” and promised an investigation “will get to the trigger” of what occurred. However Coli mentioned that was chilly consolation to the mourning household.

“Life is, sadly there’s a variety of heartaches,” mentioned Coli. “And you need to take each good optimistic factor in life, trigger it goes that fast.”