ATLANTA (WWJ/AP) – A Warren man is being credited for helping to save a man who tumbled onto railroad tracks as a commuter train approached in Atlanta, Georgia.
Rob Roberts, who was in Atlanta for a teachers’ convention, said he was at the MARTA Five Points Station in downtown Atlanta around 5 p.m. Monday when he heard screams.
Roberts, along with several other bystanders, rushed to see where the screams came from and noticed that 50-year-old Kenneth Hunter had apparently stumbled off the platform and fallen onto the tracks just as a commuter train was approaching.
Roberts told WXIA-TV he then jumped onto the tracks and helped to lift Hunter toward the platform as other passengers above, who formed a human chain, helped to pull him up.
“There were other people trying to push him up at the time,” he said. “They were lifting him, and I kind of gave his backside an extra push to get him up there.”
“It was a little scary,” Roberts added. “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. He then 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.”
Surveillance video shows one rescuer holding the legs of another as bystanders worked to pull Hunter to safety.
According to a police report, Hunter “had a strong alcohol odor on his breath” and was charged with public drunkenness and reckless conduct.
Hunter, who spoke to a WXIA-TV reporter, said alcohol wasn’t involved, but rather he had an unexpected, bad reaction to prescription pain pills. Still, he’s thankful for the quick thinking of those around him who helped save his life.
“They took care of me. I’m alive now,” he said. “They came in there and took care of everything, and I’m grateful.”
Officials say the MARTA Five Points Station is among the largest and busiest in metro Atlanta.
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