Cornell student rescues man from subway tracks seconds before train arrives

Early Thursday morning, Cornell University student Bryce Demopoulos pulled a man off of the tracks at the Third Avenue-138 Street subway station station shortly before the No. 6 train arrived.

Abby Wilson, News Editor

Bryce Demopoulos, a senior at Cornell University, pulled a stranger off of the subway tracks at a subway station in the Bronx just moments before a No. 6 train approached the station at about 6 a.m. on Thursday.

“It was pretty surreal,” Demopoulos, a Roosevelt Island resident, said of the incident. “While I was actually on the track, I did hear a train getting louder and louder and I didn’t know if it was on that track or another track at first. I knew that I could get out of the way quickly, but I was worried about carrying him out.”

Demopoulos was visiting his friend, CAS junior Andre Dubovskiy, who lives near NYU’s Washington Square campus. Early Thursday morning, the two entered the station, heading to the medical labs at Weill Cornell Medicine, where Demopoulos works. While waiting for the train at the Third Avenue-138 Street station, he saw a man who he said appeared to be intoxicated stumble onto the tracks.

Demopoulos jumped onto the tracks, helped the man back onto the platform and then jumped up himself, making it off of the tracks as the oncoming train’s lights could be seen entering the station behind him.

C. Perkins, a train conductor and part-time security employee for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, witnessed the incident and took a video on her phone. She said seeing people on the tracks is her “worst nightmare” and said she yelled at the two men to get back onto the platform.

“I am shocked still by the decency, concern, and genuine kindness that might lead one to risk such danger to help someone else,” Perkins told WSN. “The danger is not just the oncoming train — it is the large jump down, the third rail, the stranger putting his arm around you.”

After both Demopoulos and the other man were safely off the tracks, Perkins and other MTA employees, including her partner, approached them. Perkins said that her partner considered detaining the man who fell onto the tracks, but that they decided against it. After Demopoulos led the man to safety, Perkins said the student gave the man a bottle of water and comforted him.

“None of the words I can think of do the situation justice,” she said. “He saved, cared for, and went on to defend the man who put him in harm’s way.”

Demopoulos said the MTA employees took his information but did not contact the New York City Police Department or take any further action. He said he had a conversation with the man he saved who thanked him before making a joke and leaving.

“It just seemed like the thing that a reasonable person had a responsibility to do,” Demopoulos said.

Contact Abby Wilson at [email protected].