Miracle Survivor Story: Woman Falls in Front of Train and Survives

The train driver pulled the break and "just prayed for the best."

ByKATE McCARTHY via logo
November 11, 2009, 9:15 AM

Nov. 11, 2009— -- The conductor of a Bostonsubway train that nearly ran over a woman on the tracks told "Good Morning America" that she credits the people waving at her from the platform with saving the woman's life.

"I personally want to thank all of those people who were on the platform, because they made it possible," Charice Lewis, the train operator, told "GMA."

Sophia Hartegan, a 26-year-old scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, was standing on the North Station platform Friday night. Hartegan had reportedly been drinking and video from a surveillance camera showed her topple onto the tracks near the electrified third rail with an oncoming train only seconds away.

People on the platform frantically waved at the conductor, who quickly threw the emergency break and abruptly stopped the train. The woman crawled out with only a few scratches.

"I just prayed for the best," Lewis said. "And when she came out, she came out crawling, and she gave me a smile."

Bill Lynch was standing on the platform when he saw Hartegan fall.

"Get up, get up," Lynch said he told Hartegan. "There was nothing else I thought I could do, I didn't know if she was living or dying at the point."

Because Hartegan was lying down, Lewis could not see her. But it was Lynch who got the conductor's attention and helped stop the train.

"That particular gentleman is who I was paying attention to because to me, from where I was coming, it looked as though he could possibly fall in, and that made me slow my train down even more," Lewis said.

Lewis Knew to Use Caution Heading Into Station

The train operator said her inspector, Jacqueline Osorio, called her before she pulled into the station to warn her that a Celtics game had just ended and that the platform would be crowded.

"So I initially knew to use caution getting into the station," Lewis, 27, said.

But then the people on the platform began waving, and Lewis, who has worked for the Massachusetts Transportation Authority for three years, knew something was wrong.

"They were waving just a little too much, and I noticed the woman at the last minute and was able to throw my train in the emergency brake," Lewis said.

Hartegan released a statement thanking everyone who helped.

"I cannot express how grateful I am to all the wonderful people on the platform who waved down the train and also to the train operator for acting so quickly. I am amazed so many people stepped up to help someone in trouble. ... I hope they know how sincerely glad I am that they were there, and that they were brave enough to do what they did," Hartegan said in a statement.

Lewis said she is relieved Hartegan survived.

"She is OK, and the people got her out and I was just happy," Lewis said.

The Massachusetts transportation secretary recognized both Lewis and Osorio Monday, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick called to congratulate the two women, according to The Associated Press.

CLICK HERE to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

The Assciated Press contributed to this report.

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