Two Brooklyn transit cops recounted the harrowing moment a straphanger fell into the roadbed last month and their daring effort to pull him to safety just moments before a train rolled into the station.
Officers Brian Caminero and Azharul Chowdhury were performing an inspection at around 10:36 a.m. on Jan. 27 at the Fulton Street stop on the G line when they received a call that somebody had fainted and fallen into the tracks of the nearby Lafayette Avenue station on the C line. Springing into action, the cops decided to run to the station, located a block south of the Fulton Street stop.
“The only thing that’s on our minds is to get there as fast as we can,” Officer Caminero told amNewYork Metro. “Things are flying off us, who cares about it, you know, there’s a person on tracks.”
The pair say they had to act quickly. Although they had a patrol vehicle parked nearby, they felt there wasn’t enough time to pile into it so they raced to the scene on foot.
The 36-year-old man also happened to have fallen right at the very end of the Brooklyn bound track, making it just that much further to reach.
“Once we arrived at the location, we saw him, he was sitting on the track bleeding from the face. I used my flashlight to stop the train,” Chowdhury recalled. “My partner helped him up and we called an ambulance and sent him to hospital.”
The man had apparently been on the platform with his fiancé when he had some kind of medical episode, causing him to drop to the roadbed. With the oncoming train’s headlights illuminating the tracks, the officers believed he would have been dead in mere moments.
“I yelled at him: ‘give me your hand, the train is coming.’ We were able to yank him off the tracks and have him step down away from the tracks,” Caminero said.
Incredibly, this is not the first time Officer Chowdhury has rescued a person from the tracks.
In September 2020, an unhinged person shoved a 65-year-old MTA worker into the tracks of the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station. The conductor apparently struck his head on the rail and suffered injuries to his neck and back. Like last month, Chowdhury was able to swoop in and rescue him before a train barreled in.
Both Chowdhury and Caminero told amNewYork Metro that they don’t take saving a life for granted and see it as a privilege that a man was able to go home to his family because of their actions.
“This is very emotional,” Chowdhury said. “We are assigned to serve the community, so to make sure everybody who is commuting goes home safe — this is our main target, my purpose, and our goal.”