Commuters in New York were trapped on a train for 10 hours without toilets or electricity after the tracks were flooded by Hurricane Ida.
Around 200 people were plunged into darkness after the New Jersey-bound service was disabled around 45 minutes after departing New York.
Passengers had to squeeze into carriages at one end of the NJ Transit 3881 train after water poured into three cars.
Hours later, the train lost power as well as air-conditioning and ventilation.
Eyewitnesses said some on board were on the brink of panic attacks during the ordeal.
And one told how she feared she would have to swim to safety as her carriage was submerged almost up to the windows.
It comes as a state of emergency has been declared in New York and New Jersey due to flash floods and heavy downpours.
Record rainfall cascaded into New York City subway tunnels, trapping at least 17 trains and triggering cancellations throughout the night.
Footage showed streets flooded as cars were pictured floating in the road.
The New Jersey train left New York’s Penn Station around 7.43pm on Wednesday evening but was forced to stop east of Newark International Airport around 8.30pm, a US transport agency spokesperson told CNN.
Police turned up at around 4am to give passengers some water, with a rescue train eventually arriving to tow them to Newark Station.
Some said they did not arrive at their destinations until 7am on Thursday morning.
Dozens took to Twitter to vent their frustration at NJ Transit – which tweeted how crews have been ‘working around the clock’ to assess the storm damage and make necessary repairs.
One Big Apple commuter, Camilla Akbari, was travelling from Penn to Princeton – which usually takes just over an hour – to visit her mother.
She told of people’s frustration at allegedly being given ‘false promises’ from officials throughout the night.
‘We were literally and figuratively in the dark for hours,’ Ms Akbari told CNN.
Another passenger, Illia Rivera, told the network: ‘I’m sitting literally right next to the window and I see the water at my level almost.
‘I’m like “Am I going to have to swim out of here?”’
At least 22 people have died in flooding from New York to Maryland as Hurricane Ida swept through the north-eastern US.
Nine have died in New York City – which has been deluged by a month’s worth of rain, with more than 80mm dumped in Central Park in just one hour.
At least eight have perished in New Jersey, according to officials, while three have died in Pennsylvania’s suburban Montgomery County, including one who drowned in a car.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency in all 21 counties, urging people to stay off flooded roads.
He said in a White House speech: ‘These extreme storms, and the climate crisis, are here.
‘We must be better prepared. We need to act.’
And he insisted the emergency transcends politics: ‘It’s a matter of life and death and we’re all in this together.’
Hurricane Ida was the fifth most powerful storm to hit the US when it made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday – on the 16th anniversary New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Sweeping in with 150mph winds, the storm has killed at least 40 people and caused billions of dollars of damage, leaving 1million homes without power.
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