In a city where reports of people being struck and killed by subway trains are all too common, New Yorkers awoke on Monday to learn of a heroic rescue of man who fell onto the tracks.
The man, whose identity was not released, was apparently drunk and stumbled onto the subway tracks at the Columbus Circle station around 2:40 a.m. Sunday, the New York Post reported. A train was just two minutes away from entering the station, near Lincoln Center and Central Park.
Three rescuers rushed to the victim’s aid, the newspaper reported. Garrett O’Hanlon, 22, was the first to jump onto the tracks.
“I couldn’t watch a man die. It was such a rush, it happened so quickly — I just had to react,” O’Hanlon, a cadet 3rd class at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., told the newspaper. “He was unconscious, he was bleeding, and I couldn’t lift him up by myself.”
Dennis Codrington Jr., 23, jumped in, as did his friend, Matt Foley, 23, of Poughkeepsie.
The three said they had difficulties hoisting the man, described as being in his 20s. Other passengers helped out, pulling the man onto the platform and helping two of the rescuers get to safety before the train rushed in.
The unconscious victim was taken to a hospital.
Last year, 141 people were hit by subway trains and 55 died, according to testimony at a City Council hearing earlier this month on subway safety.
New Yorkers are still reeling from two well-publicized incidents in December when two people were accused of pushing passengers to their deaths.
In one, at the end of the month, authorities say a woman pushed a man onto an elevated track.
In the other, at the beginning of December, a man was crushed when he was shoved in front of an arriving train, witnesses said. A photograph of the final moments ran on the front page of the New York Post, prompting a debate about whether the photographer should have tried to help.