First Responders Recount Emotional Rescue of Woman Stuck Under Metro Train

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First responders who rescued a woman pinned under a Metro train Thursday evening say it was a team effort by firefighters and police.

The woman apparently had a medical emergency on the platform at the Court House station in Arlington, Virginia, and fell onto the tracks, according to Metro Transit Police.

A train couldn’t stop in time, and the woman got stuck beneath it.

A woman fell onto the tracks inside the Court House Metro Station as a train was pulling in. She was pinned underneath. Jackie Bensen reports it was a harrowing evening for everyone involved.

A police officer reached into the narrow space beside the train and held the woman’s hand to try to calm her while Arlington County firefighters went to the scene.

“I got down on my knees across from the cop and I began talking with her, checking to see what kind of injuries she had, figure out how severely injured she was,” Arlington County firefighter Ryan Denelsbeck said. “In my head I started thinking what I was going to have to do once we got her out.”

The incident commander asked Metro to shut down power to the third rail.
Two rescuers crawled between the platform and the trains wheels.
“They basically crawled along that safe haven underneath the platform,” Arlington County Fire Department Capt. Kevin Troiano. “We were able to talk to her into what was happening, that folks were coming up around her left side and not to be concerned about what they were doing, that they were there to get her out.”

Some passengers on the platform were emotionally upset, some in tears.
“It’s something we train for, and we understand getting into this kind of work,” Denelsbeck said. “You just kind of have to zone them out and just kind of know your job, that you’re there to do a job, and you have to focus on the patient.”

First responders say they expect the worst when they answer those kinds of calls. Denelsbeck and Troiano said they’ll remember the rescue for the rest of their lives.

“Seemed like everybody knew what they were supposed to do, moved very quickly and safely, and I think that goes a long way with the outcome with the patient,” Troiano said.

He said he will probably be reminded of the rescue every time he passes the Court House Metro Station.

The victim was taken to a hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

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