Woman falls in gap between train and platform on Long Island

Friday, July 3, 2015
Woman falls through gap at Great Neck LIRR station
Josh Einiger reports from Great Neck.

GREAT NECK, N.Y. -- A woman fell on the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Great Neck, Long Island Thursday evening.

Around 5:45 p.m., the woman fell into the gap between the train and the platform while exiting the train. "All of a sudden everyone started screaming, and there was a woman down there laying on the ground looked like there was some blood," a witness said.

Passengers were filing off the 5:11 express to Great Neck when somehow a 65-year-old woman took a wrong step and tumbled six feet onto the track bed below.

Onlookers screamed in horror. "The power's on and we've got to get the power off right away," said Capt. Laurence Jacobs, of the Vigilant Fire Company.

Jacobs is a volunteer with Great Neck's Vigilant Fire Company and even though the woman had fallen far from the third rail, he had to keep her calm because she was still in danger.

"If she touches one of the eight shoes that touch the rail at any point, she could be electrocuted absolutely," Jacobs said.

A woman fell through the gap at the Great Neck LIRR train station on Thursday evening.
Ryan Sprotte

The busy Port Washington line ground was at a standstill in both directions.

The rescue took more than a half hour as firefighters realized the gap through which she'd fallen was not big enough to get her out.

FDNY and rescue workers pull woman who fell through the gap off of the tracks in Great Neck.
Dr. Steinberg

"We had put her on a backboard and there was more room actually passing her under the train and back through the train, it was a better operation it was safer for the patient," said Chief Josh Forst, of Vigilant Fire Company.

A successful rescue served as a lesson for riders like Ben Warshaw who chronicled the rescue on Instagram.

"They always tell you to mind the gap and you never think they're really serious about it and clearly they are. It was really scary, it could happen to anybody. You could walk off a train if you trip and make the wrong step you could end up on the track," Warshaw said.