Woman who saw Toronto subway rescue says men who leapt into action are heroes

TORONTO — Bystanders leapt into action to rescue a blind man who accidentally fell onto the subway tracks in Toronto, a witness said Friday.

Julie Caniglia said in an interview that a man on her eastbound train jumped down to the tracks Thursday afternoon and crossed over to the westbound platform to help the man.

“You just don’t know if there’s another train coming. He didn’t even think about it,” said Caniglia, adding the man had “guts.”

She said she was inside the stopped subway train at Broadview station when she and other passengers heard cries for help. They got out of the train, she said, and looked across to the westbound platform.

“We noticed someone lying on the tracks … he had hurt himself,” she said.

A man next her then ran to the end of the platform to shut down the power to the tracks, she said. The Toronto Transit Commission driver told the bystander to be careful, as he could get electrocuted.

“The (driver) hit buttons to alert the oncoming train to stop and everything just shut down,” she said. “There was a lot of screaming about getting electrocuted.”

Two other men, who arrived on the westbound platform, also jumped down to help the first bystander pull the man back onto the platform, she said. The man who fell looked to be in shock, she added.

“Truly I was trembling. I just sort of walked out in a haze,” she said.

But Caniglia said she wanted others to know who the good Samaritans were, so she posted a photo she took of them to social media. All three rescuers haven’t been identified.

“It was amazing. We all need a bit of positive reinforcement that there’s some great people out there,” she said.

The incident has left Caniglia, a co-owner of the Rashers sandwich shops in the city, concerned about accidental falls onto the tracks.

“I have young kids, what if they accidentally tripped? We’re so vulnerable standing there on the platform,” she said.

The call for subway barriers to be installed on platforms has been renewed after a 73-year-old man was allegedly pushed to his death on June 18.

At the time, the TTC said it would cost more than $1 billion to install the barriers at every station. The TTC has already commissioned a study on the issue that is set to be completed in 2020.

A spokesman said the TTC was aware of the Thursday’s incident, but have not identified the rescuers.

Kadeem Griffiths said the man was transported to hospital soon after.

He added that he recommends riders notify TTC personnel if there is an incident on track level.

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