East New York

LIRR employees save passenger on tracks at East NY station

October 22, 2020 Editorial Staff
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Five Long Island Rail Road employees who worked together to save the life of a passenger who had fallen onto the tracks at the railroad’s East New York station on Oct. 21 were honored on Thursday by LIRR President Phil Eng.

All five employees – Gregory Hartley, Kevin Rattigan, Larry Woods, Stacy Augustine and Shelwyn Hendy — were at the time working as a team to assist with safety protection on the tracks while crews were performing roadwork on an adjacent project.

The incident happened at approximately 7:29 a.m., during the morning rush hour. All five employees had just wrapped up their job briefing for the day when they heard a loud sound and discovered the man who had fallen onto Track 2 at the east end of the eastbound platform.

One of the employees quickly contacted the tower operator to stop trains coming through the area. Two served as lookouts to make sure no trains were approaching. Meanwhile, others worked to calm the man down until it was safe for them to go onto the tracks themselves to help him up.

As things were developing, the man stumbled and lost his footing when his shoe got stuck between rails. Employees went onto the tracks and loosened his shoelaces to help get his foot out of his shoe in order to free him from the rails. The employees completed the rescue and walked him to the end of the platform, where FDNY and NYPD crews were waiting.

“Our employees always rise to the occasion, and this is a true example of the heroes who work among us,” said Phil Eng, president of the LIRR, which is a division of the MTA.

“We tried to keep the man calm and all of us as a team, we saved this man’s life and he’s able to go home to his family because of us,” said Hendy of the LIRR crew. “Behind the scenes, we all do our jobs and we’re glad we could help this gentleman.”

“This couldn’t have gone any better if we had practiced it,” said co-worker Woods. “I did what I could to help. The man was very disoriented and I was nervous that he was going to touch that rail. I’m just glad we were all able to get out of there safely.”

“We heard a thud, turned around and that’s when we noticed the gentleman down on the tracks, laying draped across the third rail protection board,” said crew member Hartley. “It’s a scary situation and he could have been electrocuted at any moment.”

Gregory Hartley has worked for the LIRR for 23 years, Kevin Rattigan has been an employee for 19 years, Larry Woods for 14 years, Stacy Augustine for 22 years and Shelwyn Hendy for 24 years.

“Conductors providing Roadway Worker Protection for the countless contractors who work around our live tracks each and every day is an amazing feat in itself and often taken for granted,” said Anthony Simon, general chairman, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division 505. “When they take extra steps to assist a customer who ends up in danger without hesitation such as this incident, it just exemplifies the dedication and commitment of our workers.”

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