A Commuter Saw A Man Suddenly Fall Onto Subway Tracks – And Knew He Had To Spring Into Action

Image: YouTube/Inside Edition

Jonathan Kulig was on his way out of the Subway station when he saw something on the opposite platform. Somehow, a man had fallen onto the tracks. Kulig had just over a minute until the next train arrived, but he sprung into action anyway.

It was a Saturday night when Kulig witnessed the unexpected in a Subway station. However, during the week, he wore a completely different hat. He worked as an engineer for Con Ed, an energy company that serves much of New York.

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The NYU graduate had hopped off an L train headed for Manhattan in April of 2017. As he did so, he spotted something strange across the platform. It looked like someone had tumbled on to the rails at the Third Avenue station.

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Image: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York

Kulig seemed to know that his time was limited. Indeed, rather than running the long way around to get to the person on the other side, he crossed over the tracks instead. This route is a notoriously risky one, though, and not just because of the trains coming from either direction.

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Subway trains rely on what is known as the third rail system, which provides electrical power to run the locomotive. But the electrified rail runs alongside the train tracks, making it dangerous to cross over them on foot.

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So, in order to get from one side of the platform to the other as quickly as possible, Kulig had to walk over the third rails for two separate trains. Stepping on one by mistake would jolt the Good Samaritan with 660 volts of power, which would kill him instantly.

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Fortunately, the 29-year-old engineer knew how to safely make his way through the electrified area. It just so happens that, six weeks earlier, Kulig had undergone rail safety instruction for a work-related project.

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The engineer told the New York Post in 2017, “I’m not an expert, but I knew enough to keep myself safe.” Kulig quickly moved from his side of the platform to the person in need, who had stumbled and fallen into a trash-strewn puddle on the tracks.

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All the while, 15-year-old Parker Van de Graaf filmed the entire incident on his phone. The clip captured voices of onlookers who had seen the man stumbling around the platform before falling onto to the tracks.

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Once Kulig reached the 23-year-old, who was immobile in the middle of the tracks, he didn’t hesitate. The engineer bent down, lifted the man in his arms and hoisted him back onto the platform with the help of other passengers.

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With the man safely off the tracks, Kulig himself hopped to safety. The train arrived at the station quickly thereafter. In fact, the video shows it coming just over a minute after the 29-year-old jumped down to traverse the rails.

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Kulig told New York’s WABC that he moved swiftly but carefully. The engineer said, “I made sure that I was safe before I jumped down there. But the thought, ‘Should I do this, should I not do this?’ That didn’t even cross my mind.”

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In light of Kulig’s actions, Con Ed – the company where he worked – called their employee a hero on Twitter. The engineer, however, didn’t see it that way. He explained his actions to WABC by simply saying, “I did what I had to do.”

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Kulig did admit, however, that he was proud of himself for saving the man’s life. To that end, he added, “The one thing I can completely say that I’m confident about is that if I didn’t pick him up, that train would’ve gotten him.”

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The man on the Subway tracks sat on a bench, where he was safely waited until paramedics arrived. At first, the New York Police Department reported that the man had fallen into his perilous position because he was possibly drunk.

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However, once the man arrived at Lenox Hill hospital in the West Village, it was discovered that something far worse had happened. The 23-year-old had actually suffered a stroke, which is what led him to stumble and fall.

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Muscle paralysis or weakness is a common side effect of a stroke. So, it was likely that the man on the tracks couldn’t have gotten up and moved away, even if he wanted to.

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Luckily for the stroke victim, Kulig was there to save the day – and wasn’t even late for work after doing so. When asked on Inside Edition if he would stage such a rescue again, the engineer didn’t hesitate to say, “Absolutely, 100 percent.”

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This wasn’t the first time that one New Yorker had helped another to escape the perils of the Subway tracks. In 2009, The New York Times chased down Chad Lindsey, who had saved someone who’d fallen on the tracks at Penn Station. Unlike Kulig however, he managed to slip away before first responders could identify him as the rescuer.

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Afterward, Lindsey – much like Kulig – resumed his previous schedule. He hopped on the next train, but he still received the recognition he deserved after his daring rescue. His fellow passengers gave him a round of applause as he boarded the train.

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