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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was Tuesday afternoon and Ben Runyan had just wrapped up teaching a class at Drexel.
“So I hop on the Market-Frankford connect at City Hall,” says Runyan.
But while he sat and waited on his Broad Street Line connection home, there was a loud gasp.
“I just hear this big audible smack and a gasping sound, a crowd together gasping,” Runyan said.
That crowd, he says, was gathered on the edge of the platform, looking down at a woman lying on the tracks below.
“I noticed that no one was really actively going down there to help and it didn’t occur to me not to do it. I just jumped,” he said. “She was smack dab in the middle of it. She fell into this well. I started pulling her up and dragged her to the rail, got her to about here, and everyone pulled her up and then pulled me back up and I kinda skinned my leg pretty good.”
In this sudden effort, Runyun, who teaches music technology, missed hitting a high voltage third track by just inches– something he says didn’t even cross his mind. The woman he rescued, he says, did have something on her mind.
“While I was doing this, she was trying to get her phone and I was like, ‘We’re going to die if we don’t go right now,’” recounted Runyun.
SEPTA has not released video of that rescue and they don’t recommend taking such physical action.
In 2015, SEPTA did release surveillance video of a similar track rescue and told CBS3 that the best course of action is to alert a guard so that electricity to the tracks can be cut.
As for the woman Runyan rescued, he says she seemed confused.
“She didn’t even seem to have a concept that I was helping her and I don’t even think she knew where she was,” said Runyan.
Regardless, would he do it again?
“Absolutely,” he says.