Tips Tossed to Survive Fall onto New York Subway Tracks

Tips Tossed to Survive Fall onto New York Subway Tracks

News Dec 07, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — The horrific case of a man pushed to his death on the subway tracks has set New Yorkers abuzz about what they would do — and how they would save themselves — if caught in the same situation.

Safety experts say lying down in the trough between the tracks may work in some stations. If you're not obese, there might be a space between the train and the platform at some stops. And if all else fails, they seriously suggest trying to outrun the stopping train.

Those were only some of the ideas tossed around in the days after 58-year-old New Yorker Ki-Suck Han was shoved in front of an oncoming train Monday and killed as other riders watched. A homeless man is charged with second-degree murder in the case.

Han's death got nationwide attention not only for its grotesque nature, but also because nobody — including a photographer taking pictures of the drama — came to his rescue.

That's why safety experts say it's important for subway riders to be aware of ways to save themselves. While being pushed onto the tracks is rare, commuters are hit by trains a frightening number of times — 147 in 2011, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority figures. Fifty of those people died, though most of those were suicides.

Social media lit up with the topic in the days after Han's death. A string of Facebook comments suggested that figuring out how to deal with an oncoming train is the urban equivalent of hikers in Alaska planning for how to deal with an enraged grizzly.

Officially, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says riders in danger on the tracks should seek help from an MTA employee, which may not be the most practical advice with a train bearing down.

When asked for quicker, more helpful action, the agency said it doesn't have a blanket policy because not all the trains and stations are built exactly alike.

Jim Gannon, spokesman for the Transit Workers Union, whose members scour every foot of the system daily, said that on average, people fall on the tracks and survive "a couple of times a week."

The first option, he said, if possible is to clamber back onto the subway platform or find a do-gooder willing and strong enough to lift a person about 4 feet up without falling in themselves.

Continue Reading

If no one can pull you up, Gannon said, lying down in the space between the tracks — the trough — is another option that's been used successfully several times because "there is a good deal of clearance." But as the MTA warns, not all stations and trains are built alike and the depth of troughs, and the amount of trash in them, varies.

Looking to the side of the tracks is another option. Many station platforms have a lip, or a concave overhang, that's just deep enough to accommodate all but the largest of people.

Gannon also suggests stepping between the girders that separate tracks, if the station is built that way. But that involves stepping over the dreaded third rail — which carries more than 600 volts of electricity — more than enough to kill a person.

The next option, and the most James Bond-like, is to try to run in front of the train, which travels an average of 25 mph but is slowing down as it enters the station.

Depending on where you fall on the tracks and how far away the train is, you may be able to beat the train to the end of the station stop, where there is usually a ladder that allows you to climb back up to the platform.

"You would need nerves of steel to do that," said Julius Zomper, a New York paramedic whose ambulance has responded to Manhattan subway accidents. "And you'd have to be a quick thinker and run fast."

Still, just about any risk is worth taking, Gannon said, because "if you get hit by a train, your chances of survival are not good."

The suspect in Han's death, Naeem Davis, told reporters Wednesday night that the victim attacked him first. Han's funeral was held Thursday.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Suggested Tags
Topic: General news,

Source
Associated Press
VERENA DOBNIK
State troopers rendered aid before turning them over to responding EMS units and New Castle County Paramedics.
Three people were fatally shot and at least 21 others were wounded in separate attacks from Saturday morning to early Sunday.
Crestline Coach attended the Eighth Annual Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership conference on June 8 to publicly sign the “Mission: Zero” charter on behalf of the organization, its employees and their families.
ImageTrend, Inc. announced the winners of the 2017 Hooley Awards, which recognize those who are serving in a new or innovative way to meet the needs of their organization, including developing programs or solutions to benefit providers, administrators, or the community.
Firefighters trained with the local hospital in a drill involving a chemical spill, practicing a decontamination process and setting up a mass casualty tent for patient treatment.
Many oppose officials nationwide who propose limiting Narcan treatment on patients who overdose multiple times to save city dollars, saying it's their job to save lives, not to play God.
While it's unclear what exact substance they were exposed to while treating a patient for cardiac arrest, two paramedics, an EMT and a fire chief were observed at a hospital after experiencing high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and mood changes.
After a forest fire broke out, students, residents and nursing home residents were evacuated and treated for light smoke inhalation before police started allowing people to return to their buildings.
AAA’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.
Forthcoming events across the country will provide a forum for questions and ideas
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has released its 2016 Annual Report summarizing HCOHSEM’s challenges, operations and key accomplishments during the past year.
Patients living in rural areas can wait up to 30 minutes on average for EMS to arrive, whereas suburban or urban residents will wait up to an average of seven minutes.
Tony Spadaro immediately started performing CPR on his wife, Donna, when she went into cardiac arrest, contributing to her survival coupled with the quick response of the local EMS team, who administered an AED shock to restore her heartbeat.
Sunstar Paramedics’ clinical services department and employee Stephen Glatstein received statewide awards.