Subway fall woman 'very lucky girl', says paramedic who helped pull her out
An Irish woman who survived close shaves with three New York subway trains after falling onto tracks is a "very lucky girl", according to an Irish rescue paramedic who attended the scene.
The Limerick-born member of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), who asked not to be named, told breakingnews.ie that while the incident on Sunday morning was not unusual - the fact thaf the victim escaped with only minor injuries was.
"Believe it or not this kind of thing happens a lot in New York," he said.
"We get called out to at least one of these a day - sometimes two or three.
"But it was unusual for three trains to run over her, and even more unusual that she sustained only a relatively minor injury."
Mary Downey, a 22-year-old Irish woman living in the Woodlawn area of the Bronx, fractured her shoulder after she fell onto the tracks at 49th Street Station in the early hours of Sunday morning.
She is believed to have manoeuvred herself into a small gap between the train tracks and the station platform, with three trains passing by before she was seen by the driver of the last.
"We got the call around 6am in the morning so I got on the ambulance," said the individual, who as a rescue paramedic with the ambulance division of the FDNY is specially trained to deal with dangerous situations such as collapsed buildings, and incidents where people are trapped.
"We were all the way downtown so regular EMT paramedics were also on the way," he said.
"When we got there the battalion chief said 'she's alive' so I got down under the train to where she was, and started giving her IV fluids.
"She was obviously distressed but not seriously injured and we were able to get her out of there in a relatively short time."
The paramedic recalled that the incident was something of an 'Irish gathering'.
"There was a firefighter under there with me who was from Dublin," he said.
"I heard his accent and I was like, 'Where are you from? I'm from Limerick?
"Then the girl was like, 'I'm from Belfast'… there was another cop under there and he was like, 'what is this, a f***ing Irish reunion?"
The paramedic revealed that after Ms Downey was stabilised she was quickly removed from under the train.
"We had her out in like, 21 minutes," he said. "It was pretty quick."
Ms Downey was taken to Bellevue hospital and discharged shortly after.
"I was surprised when I heard she had been discharged," said the paramedic. "I expected a lot more injuries."
He again emphasised how lucky she had been.
"Even if those trains are only travelling at two miles an hour - if they catch you, it's usually fatal.
"Added to that, those tracks down there are electrified to 3,000 volts.
"It's not often that people walk away from something like that."