NEW YORK – A Harlem resident jumped onto subway tracks to save a man who fell into harm’s way after suffering a seizure.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg subsequently presented Harlem resident Wesley Autrey with the Bronze Medallion for his bravery in saving the life of Cameron Hollopeter, a film student who fell on the No. 1 line subway tracks following a seizure on Jan. 2.
“Wesley’s astonishing bravery – saving a life in the face on an oncoming subway car – is an inspiration not just to New Yorkers, but the entire world,” Bloomberg said. “His courageous rescue of a complete stranger is a reminder of how we are surrounded by everyday heroes in New York City, and I am deeply honored to recognize one of them today.”
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director Elliot “Lee” Sander also presented Autrey with the first of 12 30-day unlimited Metrocards. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, and Autrey’s family also attended the award ceremony at City Hall.
“By selflessly leaping to the aid of a fellow New Yorker and performing a type of heroic act nearly unrecallable to the memories of veteran transit workers, Wesley Autrey has captured the spirit of our city,” Sander said.
While 50-year-old construction worker Autrey was on the 137th Street station platform with his two young daughters – Shuqui, 6, and Syshe, 4 – he saw Hollopeter in the midst of a seizure. Autrey rushed to help Hollopeter, briefly stabilizing him, but then Hollopeter fell onto the tracks just as a train was nearing the station.
Autrey did not hesitate to jump off the platform in the face of an oncoming train to save Hollopeter’s life, holding him down in the space between the two subway rails. Although the train passed not more than inches above Autrey’s head, he was not harmed. Autrey called out to his daughters to let them know he was alive, and the subway platform reportedly erupted with applause.
“You see somebody in distress, you help out,” Reuters quoted Autrey as saying. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”
– Railfanning.org News Wire