ATLANTA — A man who tumbled onto railroad tracks as a commuter train approached says he’s grateful for the efforts of a police officer and passengers, who formed a human chain to rescue him in downtown Atlanta.
Surveillance video shows one rescuer holding the legs of another as bystanders worked to pull 50-year-old Kenneth Hunter of Decatur to safety shortly after 5 p.m. Monday at the MARTA Five Points Station.
“They took care of me. I’m alive now,” Hunter said Tuesday, in an interview with WXIA-TV “They came in there and took care of everything, and I’m grateful.”
The train station is among the largest and busiest in the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority system. The platform was crowded with passengers when Hunter stumbled off the platform and into the track area a few feet below, the video shows.
Rob Roberts of Warren, Mich., said he heard screams, then jumped onto the tracks and helped lift Hunter toward the platform as other passengers above helped pull him up.
“There were other people trying to push him up at the time,” Roberts told WXIA.
“They were lifting him, and I kind of gave his backside an extra push to get him up there,” said Roberts, who was in Atlanta for a teachers’ convention.
“It was a little scary. And I wasn’t sure, you know, jumping down there, whether or not the train was going to be on us. And then the train did come, but it stopped at the entrance.”
A MARTA police officer also heard the screaming, radioed for power to be cut, then jumped into the track area. Officer Deonte Robinson said he could see a passenger on the tracks “and at the same time I see a train approaching.”
As Robinson ran toward the edge of the platform, he was calling on his radio for the power to be shut off to prevent Hunter from being electrocuted by the third rail, and to stop the on-coming train.
Then Robinson jumped onto the tracks, not knowing whether the power had been shut off or not.
“I didn’t know when I came down if the power had been cut or not,” Robinson said. “I just saw a patron in distress.”
The officer said the rescue was a team effort involving other MARTA employees who worked to cut the power, and “we had a lot of heroic patrons that also helped save the guy from the tracks.”