6 San Francisco cable car riders injured after conductor hits brakes to avoid crash – CBS News

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By Tim Fang
/ CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO – At least six riders on a San Francisco cable car were taken to hospitals Monday following an incident where the conductor had to use the emergency brake to avoid striking another vehicle.
Shortly after 1 p.m., the San Francisco Fire Department warned the public to avoid the area of Washington and Taylor streets due to a traffic incident and that emergency crews were on the scene.
Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Mariano Elias told KPIX that the cable car was coming down the hill on Washington Street and was almost to the base of the hill when the conductor noticed a passenger vehicle was in the intersection of Taylor Street.
Seeking to avoid a collision with the vehicle, Elias said the cable car operator used the emergency brake, causing the vehicle to abruptly stop.
The cable car was able to avoid striking the other vehicle, but using the emergency brake caused the people on board to lunge forward. Elias said 14 people were evaluated, while six people were taken to a local hospital  with minor injuries.
According to the Cable Car Museum, the emergency brake is one of three braking systems on the vehicle and is only used as a last resort. The brake consists of an 18-inch steel wedge hanging over the track slot.
“If the gripman cannot stop the car by other means, pulling on the lever will push the brake down into the slot where it wedges so tightly that it must often be removed with a torch. This action leads to it sometimes being referred to as a guillotine brake,” said a post on the museum’s website.  
Officials said the cable car was cleared shortly before 3 p.m.
First published on October 9, 2023 / 2:35 PM PDT
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