Local heroes honored for rescuing man from subway tracks

Although riding the subway is a routine part of thousands of Ridgeites’ daily commutes, it’s hard to overlook the various perils associated with mass transit.

For two young men, their daily ride on the R train quickly escalated into a life-changing, life-saving event, as they heroically jumped into the tracks to save a fallen man—all in the face of a fast-approaching train.

John Gearity, 21, and Richard McDonald, 31, were both headed to work when they simultaneously noticed a passenger had tumbled down into the tracks.

“I saw the man leaning forward over the platform, probably to check if the train was coming, and suddenly he just flipped over and into the tracks,” recalled McDonald.

On Tuesday, State Senator Marty Golden, along with friends and family gathered outside of the 77th Street Station to honor the two young men’s good deed.

“I don’t believe this should go unnoticed,” said Golden, “These two young men not only saved an individual’s life, but their own. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision where they could not afford to make a mistake.”

Gearity and McDonald didn’t coordinate before making the choice to jump down to the rescue—they simply had the same idea at the same time.

“I wasn’t really thinking, I was just doing,” said Gearity, “Luckily [McDonald] was down there too, otherwise this might have been a very different story.”

Gearity recalled a previous time when he had seen a person in the tracks, and didn’t react.

“I felt responsible,” said Gearity.

The pair dragged the man across the tracks, avoiding the deadly third rail–which contains 660 volts of electricity—and onto the other side of the platform.

“We had the same idea: make sure he didn’t hit the third rail,” said McDonald.

Jena Johansen, an eyewitness to the incident, marveled at the spur of the moment courage displayed by the pair, saying, “It was amazing to see people coming to the rescue so selflessly when that man was in danger. It really made me feel thankful that morning just knowing that there are heroes around us.”

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