Man jumps on subway tracks to save person who fell

PHILADELPHIA — A recovering drug addict with a long rap sheet was hailed as a hero for jumping onto subway tracks to rescue a man who walked off a platform.

Christopher Knafelc, 32, was waiting for a train in north Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon when he saw a man fall on the tracks. He jumped down to help, knowing that a train would be arriving in a few minutes.

“I had a plan if a train came I was going to roll him underneath,” Knafelc told WPVI-TV, “or if I couldn’t, I was going to ask someone to jump down and help me roll him.”

He held the man’s head and neck stable until firefighters arrived. Train traffic was halted.

Knafelc told the Philadelphia Daily News he has battled substance abuse since he was in middle school in Baden, a small town outside Pittsburgh, and spent years in and out of rehab.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority spokeswoman Jerri Williams said she spoke with Knafelc soon after his heroics.

“He’s clean and sober for about 2 1/2 years but still trying to get his life together,” she said. “I think by doing this good Samaritan deed he’s kind of surprised himself.”

She saw that as Knafelc recounted the incident on the tracks, “I could see the light go off, the a-ha moment” when he realized that after he was helped by many people in his past, he was able to finally help someone else in return.

“This almost instinctive move to save this guy made him see ‘I am a good person,’” Williams said. “It’s amazing. This incident may be the start of really good things for him.”

Online court records show Knafelc pleaded guilty in 2010 in Pennsylvania to charges of theft, driving under the influence, child endangerment and driving without a license.

He came to Philadelphia, where his mother and a cousin live, two years ago to get a fresh start, he said. A telephone message left at what was believed to be his mother’s home was not immediately returned Friday.

Investigators don’t know what caused the man to fall on the tracks. Surveillance video shows him walking slowly toward the platform’s edge and then over it. He was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition.

“He didn’t thank me, but I know he was thankful,” Knafelc told the Daily News. “You know what I mean? In my heart I believe he was.”

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Police: Driver threatens pedestrian, ends up in drug bust

Meth, cocaine and heroin were found in his car, along with a loaded pistol and cash, police say.

Son arrested for hitting father on head at Marysville home

The father grabbed a metal rod and struck his son in the head, too. Both needed medical treatment.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

A King County voter uses a ballot drop box. (King County Elections)
Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Most Read