A blind man and his guide dog fell onto subway tracks in Manhattan Tuesday in front of an A train that rolled over them, but they were not seriously hurt in what one rescuer called a "miracle."
Cecil Williams, 61, told The Associated Press from his hospital bed that he was holding onto his black Labrador, Orlando, when he fainted on the platform of the 125th Street station on the A, B, C and D lines.
Orlando is trained to protect him from going over the edge, but wasn't able to.
"He tried to hold me up," Williams said.
Witnesses said the dog was barking frantically and tried to stop Williams from falling, but they both fell to the tracks.
"The dog saved my life," Williams said, his voice breaking at times. He also was astonished by the help from emergency crews and bystanders on the platform.
The MTA said passengers tried to alert the conductor, but he could not halt the train in time. The train stopped after about one and 1/2 cars passed over the man.
An FDNY captain said rescuers looked under the train and couldn't believe what they saw.
"He was not trapped, he was just in between the rails," said Capt. Daniel O'Sullivan. The firefighter said it "definitely is a miracle."
They worked quickly to lift him to the platform, and treated him for a cut on his head.
"He asked us how his dog was doing, we told him that his dog was fine," O'Sullivan said.
As Williams regained consciousness, he says he heard someone telling him to be still.
"I'm feeling amazed," Williams said. "I feel that God, the powers that be, have something in store from me. They didn't take me away this time. I'm here for a reason."
Williams, of Brooklyn, has been blind since 1995, and Orlando is his second dog. The lab will be 11 on Jan. 5, and will be retiring soon, Williams said. His health insurance will not cover the cost of a non-working dog, so he will be looking for a good home for him.
If he had the money, Williams said, he "would definitely keep him."