MBTA cop, commuter team up to rescue woman from tracks

By 
Ed Forry, Publisher
Oct. 22, 2010

JFK-UMass rescue: An MBTA police officer and commuters tend to a woman moments after she was pulled from the tracks at JFK-UMass. Photo by Ed ForryJFK-UMass rescue: An MBTA police officer and commuters tend to a woman moments after she was pulled from the tracks at JFK-UMass. Photo by Ed ForryThere are many heroes among us, and today I saw two of them save a life on the MBTA.

At about 4:40 this afternoon, I walked down the stairs to the platform to catch an Ashmont train that was just arriving. At the platform, I saw several passengers gathering to look into the inbound pit, and saw a young woman lying flat on her back in the middle of the tracks, just four feet away from the third rail.

I had seen an MBTA police officer on duty upstairs, so I quickly went back and started yelling "Police-Police-Help." At this, the officer asked what was wrong, and when he learned of the scene downstairs, he was off down the stairs in a flash. As he descended, he radioed in a report, asking to stop all trains.

At the platform, the T cop without hesitation jumped into the pit and asked for help; a passenger jumped in with him, and the two tried to stabilize the young woman. With the officer still radioing to stop the trains, the two men picked up the woman and raised her to the edge of the platform. With the help of other passengers, the woman was successfully moved onto the platform. Then the two men on the tracks scrambled to get up themselves, and with the helping hands of others, they climbed out.

It all took place in a flash- maybe 90 seconds, no more than two minutes- and it was over very quickly. It was good that there was no train coming into the station in those few moments, although one did pass through several minutes later. The T cop called for EMTs and other T personnel arrived to assist.

It was a remarkable sequence, one that leaves me shaken even as I write an hour later. It was, simply, a tragedy averted.

I did not get the name of the T police officer, but it needs to be said the man did his job without hesitation. I didn't get the name of the passenger who helped out either, but I saw him on the next train to Ashmont, and he told me as soon as the cop went in and asked for help, he jumped in with him. He was aware of the danger from the third rail, he told me, and also he was concerned that a train might come while he was on the tracks. But he said he didn't give all that a thought at the time- his only concern was to help another human being, this young woman, who needed to be rescued.

At the end, I went up and thanked the cop, and I thanked my fellow passenger. At this rapid-fire time of need, they jumped in to help save a life.

I met two heroes today- an MBTA Cop and an anonymous passenger. Two heroes walking among us.