The good Samaritan who got onto the subway tracks to save a woman who was unconscious Monday morning said he didn't hesitate, he just jumped.
“I was scared, but I was scared for her,” said Said Kanoun, 25, who emigrated from Algeria three months ago and now studies English at Long Island University.
Kanoun, was on his way from his Dyker Heights home to LIU and was changing trains at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station when the accident happened. He was waiting for the R train at 8:25 a.m. when he saw a young woman fall onto the tracks, he said during an interview with Patch Tuesday morning at the Downtown Brooklyn school.
Just before the woman fell, he had heard an announcement that the R train was one station away, so he knew he had to act fast. He reached down to pull her up but she didn’t move.
“I tell her, ‘Give me your hands! Give me your hands!’ but she didn’t move. I think she was unconscious. I see nobody’s jumping, so I took off my bag and I jumped,” he said.
Down in the tracks, he grabbed the woman and tried to hoist her up onto the platform on his own, but she was unconscious, therefore essentially dead weight.
“She was too heavy. Someone pulled her up and then somebody pulled me up,” he said.
The conductor of the incoming R train saw a man lifting a woman out of the tracks and stopped—with his train one-third of the way into the station—to wait for the man to get off the tracks, an MTA spokeswoman said.
After he was safely out, the train pulled all the way into the station.
“We put the girl on the platform and I asked her if she was OK, but she didn’t speak,” Kanoun said. The woman had a cut on her forehead and there was blood running down her face and into her eyes.
"I really would like to know if she's OK," he said.
The woman was taken to Brooklyn Hospital Center in "unknown condition," according to the FDNY following origional reports from incident.
Kanoun said that while many passengers helped with the rescue, he was surpised at the reactions of others: At least a half dozen people stood there taking pictures or video with their phones, he said.
Afterwards, he said, a lot of people thanked him.
“Everyone said: ‘You’re a hero. You’re a hero.’ But I’m not a hero," he said, adding that he just did what needed to be done.
The soft-spoken, gangly student grew up the oldest of five children in Tizi Ouzou, a medium sized costal city in northern Algeria. Kanoun was studying electrical engineering but moved here three months ago after winning the Diversity Visa Program lottery and getting his green card.
The subway hero, coincidentally, makes Subway heroes for a living. He works at an "Eat Fresh" franchise, as he calls it, near the United Nations.
Fellow students and teachers called Kanoun a "warm," "affable" and "hardworking" guy.
Malgorzata Kapinos, a fellow ESL student who arrived on the platform a few minutes after the accident said she was impressed with Kanoun's quick action.
“So many people are afraid, scared,” she added. “But [instantly] he was jumping.”