It’s every city parent’s worst nightmare…a child falling onto the subway tracks. I see toddlers walking around subway platforms with hands unheld and older kids (and many times, adults) peering too far from the edge looking for a train, and I cringe. A recent New York Magazine article, which discussed the new safety posters that will soon go up in the subways and placed on Metrocards, reported that in 2011, 146 people were hit by trains and 47 people were killed in the NYC subway system.
Often, as in any other accident, falling on to a subway track happens in a split second. That’s exactly how long it took for one Brooklyn mother to turn her head when a wind gust blew her toddler onto the tracks below…with a train coming.
About 12:45pm on Tuesday afternoon, a Brooklyn mother of four, Maria Zamara, was on an outdoor platform with three older children and a 1-year-old who was strapped into a stroller. She turned her attention away from her baby to address her older children who were sitting on a bench, and that’s when the powerful wind blew the entire stroller (which hadn’t had its brakes turned on) onto the tracks below with a train approaching in the distance.
According to one witness, Zamara froze and that’s when a Good Samaritan Delroy Simmonds jumped down to the tracks and lifted the baby up to the safety of the platform before jumping up himself with seconds to spare:
“I jumped down and I snatched the baby up. The train was coming around the corner as I lifted the baby from the tracks. I really wasn’t thinking. I jumped down and I snatched the baby up. The train was coming around the corner as I lifted the baby from the tracks. I really wasn’t thinking.”
The baby suffered a large and deep gash to his forehead from the fall but was expected to fully recover.
Don’t tell Simmonds he is a hero though, because he’ll deny it: “It was the fatherly instinct. I have two daughters of my own — 8 and 5. I was being a father. I would have done it for any baby.”
Incidentally, Simmonds was on his way to a job interview at the time and missed it, so what he really needs now is a job.
Have you ever witnessed anyone fall on the tracks? What is the most distressing thing you’ve ever seen on the subway tracks (besides the rats!)?
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