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Heroic LIRR Employees Save Customer’s Life at East New York Station in Brooklyn

Long Island Rail Road
Updated October 22, 2020 8:01 p.m.
lirr president phil eng honors employees who rescued a man who fell on the tracks

Employees Act Quickly to Bring Man to Safety After He Falls on Tracks

LIRR President Recognizes Employees for Their Rescue 


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Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng today honored five LIRR employees who worked together to save the life of a customer who had fallen onto the tracks during the morning rush hour at the LIRR’s East New York station in Brooklyn on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

All five employees – Gregory Hartley, Kevin Rattigan, Larry Woods, Stacy Augustine and Shelwyn Hendy -- work as a team to assist with safety protection on the tracks while crews are performing roadwork on an adjacent project.

The incident happened Wednesday, Oct. 21, at approximately 7:29 a.m. All five employees had just wrapped up their job briefing for the day when they heard a loud sound caused by the man falling onto Track 2 at the east end of the eastbound platform.

One of the employees quickly contacted the tower operator to stop trains coming from through the area. Two employees served as look outs to make sure no trains were approaching. Meanwhile, others worked to calm the man down until it was safe for them to go onto the tracks themselves to help him up.

As this was developing, the man stumbled and lost his footing when his shoe got stuck between rails. Employees went onto the tracks and loosened the man’s shoelaces to help get his foot out of his shoe in order to free him from the rails. The employees completed the rescue and walked him to the end of the platform where FDNY and NYPD crews were waiting.

“Our employees always rise to the occasion and this is a true example of the heroes who work among us, said Phil Eng, President of Long Island Rail Road. “Not only has the workforce stepped up ensuring invaluable service in our fight against the pandemic but the quick action by – Gregory, Kevin, Larry, Stacy and Shelwyn saved a life. Not exactly verbatim from a well-known superhero, but in this case, it fits; Faster than a speeding locomotive! We cannot thank them enough.”

“We tried to keep the man calm and all of us as a team, we saved this man’s life and he’s able to go home to his family because of us,” said Shelwyn Hendy, of the LIRR crew. “Behind the scenes, we all do our jobs and we’re glad we could help this gentleman.”

“This couldn’t have gone any better if we had practiced it,” said Larry Woods, of the LIRR crew. “I did what I could to help, the man was very disoriented and I was nervous that he was going to touch that rail. I’m just glad we were all able to get out of there safely.” 

“We heard a thud, turned around and that’s when we noticed the gentleman down on the tracks, laying draped across the third rail protection board,” said Gregory Hartley, of the LIRR crew. “It’s a scary situation and he could have been electrocuted at any moment. At that point our first reaction was to make sure we stopped any train that could come through.”

“My first instinct was to turn my radio to channel one and try to let any incoming traffic coming into the platform know that there was someone on the tracks and they could not come in,” said Stacy Augustine, of the LIRR crew. “My role was to make sure there were no westbound trains coming in until it was safe and the man got off the tracks.”

“I was the west end lookout during the operation to make sure that I could stop any eastbound train traffic in a sufficient amount of time so nothing bad would happen and they could safely get the man off the tracks,” said Kevin Rattigan, of the LIRR crew.

“Conductors providing Roadway Worker Protection for the countless Contractors who work around our live tracks each and every day is an amazing feat in itself and often taken for granted,” said Anthony Simon, General Chairman, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division 505. “When they take extra steps to assist a customer who ends up in danger without hesitation such as this incident, it just exemplifies the dedication and commitment of our workers. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Gregory Hartley has worked for the LIRR for 23 years, Kevin Rattigan has been an employee for 19 years, Larry Woods for 14 years, Stacy Augustine for 22 years and Shelwyn Hendy for 24 years.