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Man Falls Onto Track at Virginia Square Station

by ARLnow.com — August 25, 2010 at 12:31 pm 2,371 9 Comments

Firefighters and paramedics responded to the Virginia Square Metro station this afternoon, after a Metro employee rider had an epileptic seizure and fell onto the trackbed.

Other customers immediately came to the man’s aid and helped him get back up to the platform according to WMATA spokesperson Ron Holzer. An Orange Line train was arriving at the station the time of the incident, but came to a stop before it reached the fallen man. Power to the third rail was turned off shortly after he fell, Holzer said.

The incident happened around 12:15 p.m. When paramedics arrived they applied a neck brace and loaded the victim onto a stretcher, according to scanner reports.

One witness shared this harrowing account of incident in the comments below:

The man was waiting for the Vienna train. He appeared to be mid-twenties, about 200 lbs, wearing a backpack. He appeared disoriented then started toward the tracks. Someone yelled “watch out watch out”. The lights were blinking because the Vienna train was coming. The man stepped out into thin air and fell forward onto the nearest of the two tracks. The track got him right in the ribs, and he lay there.

Some people started yelling “get up get up”, and others ran toward the tunnel exit, waving at the Vienna train to stop. A man in a blue dress shirt on the New Carrollton/Franconia side dropped his papers and jumped into the track bed. The victim was saying “I can’t move” but he slowly got up. Blue dress shirt hopped to the Vienna side just as the victim was getting to his feet. Blue dress shirt was standing behind the victim, bear-hugging him. He was maneuvering the victim toward the platform when the train emerged from the tunnel and came to a stop about 100′ from the where they were.

(The train peeked out of the tunnel by about 30′. I was surprised that the train was able to stop so quickly – apparently the driver responded to the people waving and/or saw the two people on the tracks. There was no screeching of brakes or anything that I noticed – the train appeared to stop pretty comfortably with room to spare.)

Two people who were working on the Vienna-side escalator grabbed an arm each and pulled the victim from the trackbed. Blue dress shirt pulled himself out onto the Vienna platform. The victim was laid down on his back with his head propped up. He was saying “my back my back”. A female metro employee with a walkie-talkie appeared and reported on the situation.

After multiple assurances, the victim stopped panicking and was able to relay a phone number to the metro employee. Blue dress shirt called across for somebody to grab his papers. The man nearest did so, and blue dress shirt crossed back to the New Carrollton/Franconia side. The Franconia train, which had stopped, emerged slowly from the tunnel, parked, and opened its doors to take on passengers. Blue dress shirt boarded the train. He had two knuckles on his right hand that were badly swollen. He guessed that he had accidentally punched the concrete when he grabbed the victim. He said that his plan had been to pull the man beneath the platform as the train pulled up. Luckily we never found out if this plan would have been successful.

  • G. Clifford Prout

    Have you upgraded to a digital scanner? Any recommendations?

  • prs130

    I was an eyewitness.

    The man was waiting for the Vienna train. He appeared to be mid-twenties, about 200 lbs, wearing a backpack. He appeared disoriented then started toward the tracks. Someone yelled “watch out watch out”. The lights were blinking because the Vienna train was coming. The man stepped out into thin air and fell forward onto the nearest of the two tracks. The track got him right in the ribs, and he lay there. Some people started yelling “get up get up”, and others ran toward the tunnel exit, waving at the Vienna train to stop. A man in a blue dress shirt on the New Carrollton/Franconia side dropped his papers and jumped into the track bed. The victim was saying “I can’t move” but he slowly got up. Blue dress shirt hopped to the Vienna side just as the victim was getting to his feet. Blue dress shirt was standing behind the victim, bear-hugging him. He was maneuvering the victim toward the platform when the train emerged from the tunnel and came to a stop about 100′ from the where they were. (The train peeked out of the tunnel by about 30′. I was surprised that the train was able to stop so quickly – apparently the driver responded to the people waving and/or saw the two people on the tracks. There was no screeching of brakes or anything that I noticed – the train appeared to stop pretty comfortably with room to spare.) Two people who were working on the Vienna-side escalator grabbed an arm each and pulled the victim from the trackbed. Blue dress shirt pulled himself out onto the Vienna platform. The victim was laid down on his back with his head propped up. He was saying “my back my back”. A female metro employee with a walkie-talkie appeared and reported on the situation. After multiple assurances, the victim stopped panicking and was able to relay a phone number to the metro employee. Blue dress shirt called across for somebody to grab his papers. The man nearest did so, and blue dress shirt crossed back to the New Carrollton/Franconia side. The Franconia train, which had stopped, emerged slowly from the tunnel, parked, and opened its doors to take on passengers. Blue dress shirt boarded the train. He had two knuckles on his right hand that were badly swollen. He guessed that he had accidentally punched the concrete when he grabbed the victim. He said that his plan had been to pull the man beneath the platform as the train pulled up. Luckily we never found out if this plan would have been successful.

    • RestonRunner86

      Wow. Just wow. That is truly the stuff that heroism is made of. I hope Metrorail’s and/or Arlington County’s officials are reading this and give this man in the blue dress shirt some sort of plaque for his selflessness. I’m in awe. Thank you for the excellent recap.

  • Anne

    That is a great recap, prs130. I was there, as well. Thankfully this incident did not end in tragedy. I was impressed with the quick thinking by all, especially the good samaritan in the blue dress shirt.

  • V Dizzle

    Wow, very unselfish actions. Glad it ended well.

  • Lou

    Metro will probably cite the guy for being on the tracks.

    • RestonRunner86

      LOL! :-D

  • Blue Dress Shirt

    I appreciate the kind words that everyone has said. But, I will tell you that there was another gentleman whom had it not been for his presence of mind in waving his arms and stopping the train it could have been a different story…so I thank him so very much. I must also thank the train engineer who was alert and quick enough to assess the situation and stop that train. Yesterday was an interesting day to say the least. My hand is ok…still swollen but nothing broken. I hope that the young man who had the seizure is as well.

  • Taboo

    Dear Blue Dress Shirt man, first of all, ***SWOON*** Second, thank you for looking out for your fellow passengers. I sincerely hope if you ever need similar help (knock on wood), a hero will find you too.

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