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Philadelphian jumps on tracks to help fallen man

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 11:06 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 30, 2013 12:11 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP)
In this still image taken from security video provided by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Christopher Knafelc jumps off a subway platform in north Philadelphia to help a man who fell onto the tracks Thursday afternoon, March 28, 2013. Knafelc, 32, jumped down to help the man, knowing that a train would be arriving in a few minutes. Train traffic was halted and the man was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition. (AP Photo/SEPTA)

PHILADELPHIA – A recovering drug addict with a long rap sheet was hailed as a hero for jumping onto subway tracks to rescue a man who walked off a platform.

Christopher Knafelc, 32, was waiting for a train Thursday when he saw a man fall on the tracks. He jumped down to help, knowing that a train would arrive in a few minutes.

“I had a plan if a train came I was going to roll him underneath,” Knafelc told WPVI-TV, “or if I couldn’t, I was going to ask someone to jump down and help me roll him.”

He held the man's head and neck stable until firefighters arrived. Train traffic was halted.

"I was like 99.9 percent positive that I wouldn't get electrocuted," Knafelc told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I can't see (the tracks) being able to electrocute you, because too many people would get hurt."

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III called Knafelc a hero.

"This is what Philadelphia is all about," Nestel said.

Investigators don't know what caused the man to fall on the tracks. He was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition.

"He didn't thank me, but I know he was thankful," Knafelc told the Daily News. "You know what I mean? In my heart I believe he was."

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