MTA signal maintainer Anthony Mannino was on a platform at the Newkirk Plaza subway station in Ditmas Park Wednesday morning when he heard people screaming.
That’s when he saw a woman standing in the middle of the tracks as a Manhattan-bound Q train quickly approached the station.
“I didn’t have enough time to approach her, and grab her, and get her off the track,” Mannino, 54, of Valley Stream, recalled at a news conference outside the station on Thursday. “The only thing I was able to do to save her was to jump on the tracks and warn the motorman that there’s somebody on the tracks.”
Without thinking twice, Mannino — clad in his fluorescent orange-and-yellow MTA vest — did just that.
Mannino’s vest was the first thing train operator Larry Moreno, 50, of Ditmas Park, spotted as his Q train flew around the curve, heading into the station at around 35 miles per hour, he said.
“Right away, I knew, ‘Something’s wrong, something’s wrong,’” said Moreno, who immediately pulled the train’s emergency brake.
“Once I apply the emergency brake, that’s the maximum brakes that I could apply,” the train operator of six years said. “And I’m thinking, ‘Oh God, please, stop the train, stop, stop, stop.’”
His Q train, he recalled, stopped mere feet from the woman.
The quick-thinking actions of the two MTA employees saved the woman’s life, NYC Transit president Andy Byford said in a statement Thursday.
“This is another example of the caliber, bravery and passion of New York City Transit front-line workers,” he said. “Anthony and Larry did a great job under incredibly stressful circumstances and I am immensely proud of them.”
Mannino, who has worked as a signal maintainer for 22 years, said he wasn’t concerned about his own safety when he jumped onto the tracks.
“It [was] just an instinct. It’s just a pure instinct of, ‘I have to save this lady’s life,’” he explained. “I work on the tracks every day — I’ve been doing this for many, many years — so I know I have enough response time to get out of the way.”
“I just didn’t want anybody to get hurt on my watch,” he added. “I didn’t want anybody to get killed while I was there.”
After the train stopped, Mannino helped the woman off the tracks and walked her down the platform and up the stairs, as police and an ambulance were on their way.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get her to stay and wait for emergency personnel to arrive — though he walked about a block and a half pleading with her, he recalled.
“I felt like [physically stopping her], but I [knew] I couldn’t do that,” he said.
At Thursday’s news conference, MTA communications director Tim Minton said the agency is currently working with the NYPD in the hope of identifying the woman and offering her help.
Both Mannino and Moreno said they hoped speaking about the harrowing experience could somehow help the woman again.
“I just hope that today, doing this, hopefully somebody could reach out to her,” Mannino said.
He also had a message to share with the woman herself.
“There’s a lot of good people out there that are willing to help if you need some help,” he said. “I really believe it’s God’s way of saying, you know, she’s got a second chance.”
If you or a loved one is dealing with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 .