Reporting Jessica Kartalija
WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A heroic story underground at the nation’s capital.
Jessica Kartalija has more on how two reluctant heroes save a man’s life.
A man in a wheelchair accidentally went off the platform and right onto the Metro Center tracks in Washington D.C. on Independence Day. The man was trying to get closer to read a sign when he plummeted face first onto the tracks. The entire incident was caught on surveillance camera.
Army Specialist Michael Menchaca just happened to be descending the escalator when the incident happened.
“I saw something go over on the tracks. I went to go see and I looked down there and there was a guy laying there,” Menchaca said.
The unidentified man landed right next to the 750 volt third rail. Menchaca knew he had to act fast.
“I just jumped down there, started helping him out. I tried to pick him up and I realized his seat belt was still strapped to his wheelchair,” he said.
Menchaca struggled with the belt, worried a train was barreling down on them.
“Every second felt like 30 seconds,” Menchaca said.
That’s when an unidentified passenger from the opposite side of the platform leaped over both third rails to help lift the man, who is now recovering.
Menchaca has returned to duty, unaware he’s being considered for the Soldier’s Medal. That’s the Army’s highest peace-time award.
“In my book, I was just doing the right thing. Pretty much like anyone else would have done,” he said.
There were no trains in the immediate vicinity, but Metro staff fortunately had alerted their control system to stop all trains.
The man who fell suffered only minor injuries.