We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will…
The thud of the man hitting the tracks was followed by shrieks from a nearby commuter who watched from the platform in horror. In the distance, a train could be heard rumbling into the station.
It was shortly after noon on Tuesday at Toronto’s St. Clair West subway station and few others were around when Dwight Orchard, 23, leapt onto the tracks to save the life of another.
Orchard, a George Brown College plumbing student originally from Bracebridge, had just stepped off the stairs and onto the platform when he saw the man teeter over the edge and onto the tracks below. With sound of an oncoming train filling the station, Orchard dropped his school bag and ran.
In what onlooker Ren Niles, 40, described as a heroic act, Orchard jumped onto the tracks and began to try to lift the unidentified man — who transit officials said “appeared to be intoxicated” — out of harm’s way as other passengers on the platform looked on in horror.
“I could see the subway running toward him and everybody was screaming,” said Orchard, reached at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital Tuesday night where he was undergoing tests for pneumonia. “It was a split-second decision … I just wanted to get him out of there. I didn’t want him dying.”
When he couldn’t lift the man by the shoulders, Orchard said he had to lift him “like a baby,” cradling him with two arms and tossing him up toward the platform before pulling himself off the track bed.
Meanwhile, Niles, who had been standing on the platform with her partner and child when the man fell, said she and other commuters began to scream “Stop!” as the train entered the station.
The Toronto Transit Commission refused to release surveillance images of the event due to policy restrictions, but spokeswoman Milly Bernal said the agency was aware of the incident. She added that reports of people on the tracks are “rare, but happen occasionally” in Toronto.
Usually, she said, the reports involve intoxication or people trying to retrieve dropped items.
Bernal also said that, according to an incident report, a TTC employee saw the man fall at around 12:20 p.m. and cut the power at the station, bringing the train to a halt.
Niles, who had got onto her knees to see if she could help Orchard lift the man onto the platform, said about three cars had entered the station by the time the train finally stopped. By then, Orchard had lifted the man to safety.
Nearly as fast as the event unfolded, the Tuesday afternoon hero disappeared into the backdrop, boarding the next train southbound and leaving the man in the hands of TTC officials and emergency services.
Feeling low with pneumonia-like symptoms, Orchard said he wasn’t feeling up to the attention, so he picked up his school bag and hopped on the next train without word.
But the spotlight found him.
Niles, who said she wanted to find a way to thank Orchard, snapped a photo of him on the subway train and later posted it to Facebook with a description of his actions. Within hours, the Facebook photo had been shared more than 180 times on the social media site.
Orchard was still at a loss when asked why he decided to risk his own life jumping onto the tracks to save the unidentified man, except to say “I had to.”
Of the attention he’s received online: “That’s awesome, I’m loving it. It makes me feel a lot better.”
- Man rescued from Toronto subway tracks (upi.com)
- Bystanders save man who fell onto Toronto subway tracks (cbc.ca)
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