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New Yorkers wrestle with survival on subway tracks

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm •  Published: December 6, 2012

The first option, he said, if possible is to clamber back onto the subway platform or find a do-gooder willing and strong enough to lift a person about 4 feet up without falling in themselves.

If no one can pull you up, Gannon said, lying down in the space between the tracks — the trough — is another option that's been used successfully several times because "there is a good deal of clearance." But as the MTA warns, not all stations and trains are built alike and the depth of troughs, and the amount of trash in them, varies.

Looking to the side of the tracks is another option. Many station platforms have a lip, or a concave overhang, that's just deep enough to accommodate all but the largest of people.

Gannon also suggests stepping between the girders that separate tracks, if the station is built that way. But that involves stepping over the dreaded third rail — which carries more than 600 volts of electricity — more than enough to kill a person.

The next option, and the most James Bond-like, is to try to run in front of the train, which travels an average of 25 mph but is slowing down as it enters the station.

Depending on where you fall on the tracks and how far away the train is, you may be able to beat the train to the end of the station stop, where there is usually a ladder that allows you to climb back up to the platform.

"You would need nerves of steel to do that," said Julius Zomper, a New York paramedic whose ambulance has responded to Manhattan subway accidents. "And you'd have to be a quick thinker and run fast."

Still, just about any risk is worth taking, Gannon said, because "if you get hit by a train, your chances of survival are not good."

The suspect in Han's death, Naeem Davis, told reporters Wednesday night that the victim attacked him first. Han's funeral was held Thursday.