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

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

State waging war with tenacious ivy, an invasive ‘bully’

The public is being asked to help with a study by collecting and sending in samples.

Front Porch

EVENTS Holiday lights parade in Monroe Monroe will host a Holiday Lights… Continue reading

Most Read