Bystanders praised for rescuing blind man who fell onto subway tracks

By Ginella Massa

Three Good Samaritans were literally applauded by fellow TTC passengers after they risked their lives to save a man who had fallen on the subway tracks.

Julie Caniglia says she was on her way home from work on Thursday, when her eastbound train stopped at Broadview Station for a few minutes. Suddenly, she and other passengers heard someone crying out for help.

“It was getting louder: ‘Help me. Help me, please,’” recounts Caniglia, who was sitting in the front car with three other passengers.

“We got up and looked out, at which point we noticed a gentleman on the westbound track, lying there with a walking stick. He said he was blind and injured and couldn’t move.”

That’s when she says a man on the train with her ran out in front of the subway car and crossed the tracks, while the conductor yelled warnings about being electrocuted by the third rail.

Caniglia says the TTC operator jumped out and pushed an emergency button she believes cut power to the tracks.

“To jump down onto a track when a train is going to come is really scary, and this guy just did it,” she says. “He just reacted.”

She says two other men arrived moments later and helped hoist the man to safety.

“Until he was up on the platform, I don’t think anyone breathed. It was like every second seemed like a minute,” she recalls. “When it happened, we all clapped and were hugging each other.”

The TTC confirms the man appears to have fallen accidentally and was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

It says in situations like this, passengers can use the emergency buttons at the ends of the platform to immediately cut power to the tracks. There are also phones to connect customers to transit control.

The TTC says drivers are trained to stop immediately if they see anyone waving violently or gesturing on the platform.

“We don’t advise anyone to go to track level,” a TTC spokesperson said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the individual who fell at Broadview Station earlier today and we thank bystanders for their quick action and assistance.”

Caniglia posted the story on social media with a photo of the men, thanking them for their quick action.

“I really wanted to get (the first) gentleman’s face out there because he’s such a Good Samaritan,” she says. “He really put his life at risk to help that individual on the tracks.”

The TTC is conducting a feasibility study on installing doors at the edge of subway platforms to prevent people from jumping or falling on the tracks. It will go before the Board in 2020.

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