A day after talking about the trains and people being considerate, a man almost risked his life on the subway tracks to save another.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wesley Autrey faced a harrowing choice, as he tried to rescue a teenager who had fallen off a platform onto a subway track in front of an approaching train: Struggle to hoist him back up to the platform in time, or take a chance on finding safety under the train.
At first, he tried to pull the young man up, but he was afraid he wouldn't make it in time and they would both be killed.
"So I just chose to dive on top of him and pin him down," he said. (Watch how shallow the rut is Video)
Autrey and the teen landed in the drainage trough between the rails Tuesday as a southbound No. 1 train entered the 137th Street/City College station.
The train's operator saw them on the tracks and applied the emergency brakes.
Two cars passed over the men -- with about 2 inches to spare, Autrey said. The troughs are typically about 12 inches deep but can be as shallow as 8 or as deep as 24, New York City Transit officials said.
Relatives identified the teen as Cameron Hollopeter, 19, of Littleton, Massachusetts, a student at the New York Film Academy.
Hollopeter's stepmother, Rachel Hollopeter, said Autrey was "an angel."
"He was so heroic," she said early Wednesday in a telephone interview. "If he wasn't there, this would be a whole different call."
Authorities said Hollopeter had suffered a medical problem, but was in stable condition at a hospital.
Autrey, 50, of Manhattan, declined medical attention.
Autrey had been waiting for a train with his two young daughters. After the train stopped, he heard bystanders scream and yelled out: "We're OK down here but I've got two daughters up there. Let them know their father's OK," The New York Times reported.
While spectators cheered Autrey, hugged him and hailed him as a hero, he didn't see it that way.
"I don't feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help," he told the Times. "I did what I felt was right."
I know he is trying to be modest but this man did a very brave and courageous thing. Bless his heart.