An autistic three-year-old boy was rescued from electrified tracks, when a train engineer noticed him ambling across the railway.
A train was traveling at 70mph on New York’s Metro-North tracks next to Hudson River, when the engineer saw the little boy toddling on the adjacent rail line in the middle of the afternoon on April 6.
A northbound train was traveling on the same tracks the boy was on, and the train engineer immediately made an emergency call to prevent the train from striking him.
“Emergency, emergency, emergency,” William Kennedy said over the radio. “Metro-North 737 Hudson. We need you to kill the rail, we’ve got a toddler here on the tracks.”
Engineer Shawn Loughran brought the train to a halt, and Assistant Conductor Marcus Higgins spotted the boy.
Higgins hopped out of the train and ran down the tracks to rescue the boy, who was dangerously climbing over the electrified third rail.
The conductor scooped the boy up, who was miraculously not injured from his explorations, and brought him back to the train.
Two signal maintainers, Max Chong and Christopher Fraina, saw the boy’s mother and sister crying on a street corner as they were searching for the missing child, after he disappeared from a nearby park.
Mother and son, who she reported is autistic and nonverbal, were reunited on the train by the staff who saved him.
All five of the Metro-North staffers were awarded with commendations by MTA Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi.
“These fine team members embodied the qualities we want our employees to exhibit while on duty, alert, responsive, knowledgeable and helpful,” she remarked.
“With the bravery and calm comportment of superheroes, they averted a horrific outcome and saw to it that this little boy was not going to become a statistic,” Rinaldi continued.
“We salute their efforts and compassion, and heartily thank them for their dedication to the people we serve.”
Higgins said that the MTA workers’ reactions were purely instinctual.
“In the heat of the moment when you see a child in this situation, your first instinct is to make sure they’re safe,” he said in a statement.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that we were able to help reunite this family.” Fraina added.
“In those minutes that must have felt like hours to them, I’m so glad we were in the right place at the right time.”