Incidents are frequently reported in which people on the Metro tracks are struck by trains. Less often reported are the times when people are pulled to safety.
They are “not terribly common,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said. But they happen. One such case occurred last week ay the Pentagon City station with a little less margin for safety than might be hoped.
It was unusual, Stessel said, for someone to make a rescue when the train was “quite so close” as it was about 6:40 p.m. Thursday, when a man who was texting “walked right off the platform” as a train was arriving.
Jennifer Buchanan of Annandale and her father, Kent Wright, who was visiting from Massachusetts, sprang into action.
As related by her husband, Jack Buchanan, who stayed home while his wife and father-in-law headed for a hockey game, the man fell in front of the pair.
“They could see the lights [of the approaching train] entering the station,” he said. They knelt at the edge of the platform. The man was trying to get up but appeared to need help.
Wright, who is in his 70s, started pulling the man’s torso back toward the platform. Jennifer Buchanan grabbed for the man’s leg, her husband said.
As others in the station shouted for the train to stop, the daughter and father pulled the man to safety.
“It all happened in a flash,” Jack Buchanan said.
The man offered his thanks, Buchanan said.
Then, apparently more interested in getting to the game on time than being hailed as heroes, his wife and her father boarded a train for the game.
She did send her husband a quick text from the train.
“We just saved somebody’s life,” it read.
Later the woman and her father saw surveillance pictures of the incident.
Not until she saw it, the husband said, did she realize “how close it was.”