Irish News

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Two Irishmen rescued Belfast woman who fell under New York subway

Mark O'Regan

Published 02/07/2014 | 00:07

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Two Irishmen were involved in the rescue of the Irish woman who fell under three subway trains earlier this week

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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.

Firefighter Sean Cummins - he and another Irishman rescued Irishwoman Mary Downey from the train tracks in New York
Firefighter Sean Cummins - he and another Irishman rescued Irishwoman Mary Downey from the train tracks in New York

Unable to lift herself off the rails, Downey apparently managed to position herself between the rails as at least one of the trains barreled over her, police sources said.

After the first train passed over her, Downey continued to lie helplessly on the track bed of the empty station as yet another train operator unknowingly drove over her. Downey wasn’t discovered until the third train’s operator spotted what he thought was a piece of trash on the tracks - but it was actually Downey’s hand waving for help.

Yesterday it emerged that rescue Medic Niall O'Shaughnessy, and firefighter Sean Cummins, responded to the 911 call and found Ms Downey on the tracks.

Cummins jumped down from the platform to provide urgent assistance.

He spoke to her to try and keep her calm, where upon O'Shaughnessy asked him: “Where are you from?”

The victim, thinking he was speaking to her replied: “Belfast.”

Cummins then said he was from Dublin, and O'Shaughnessy said he was raised in Limerick.

Both men then joked: “What is this - an Irish reunion?”

They stabilised the woman and carefully moved her from between two subway cars before she was transported to a New York hospital in a stable condition

“To say she was lucky was an understatement,” O'Shaughnessy said.

“I was just delighted she was ok. Only in New York does something like this happen,'' added Cummins.

She is believed to have manoeuvred herself into a small gap between the train tracks and the station platform.

Both men said they respond to these kind of emergencies on a regular basis - but on this occasion the all round Irish connection made it a unique event.

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