Metro News Release

For immediate release: January 20, 2009

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Houston officer rescues woman who fell onto Metrorail tracks
Houston officer makes inaugural rescue

An officer from the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (Houston Metro) helped rescue a woman who had fallen onto the tracks at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station earlier today (January 20).

While patrolling the Red Line platform at the station around 9:15 a.m., Officer Eliot Swainson, a 15-year veteran of the Houston Metro Police Department, heard people yelling that a person was on the tracks. “I turned around and saw a lady standing in the track area,” Swainson said.

He rushed to the woman and with the assistance of a Metro rider, they reached down to try to pull her up from the tracks, but were unable to as a Red Line train heading toward Glenmont was pulling into the station. “The train was coming in closer,” Swainson said. At that point, “I pushed her down and got her tucked down under the platform.” He directed the woman to remain in the crawl space beneath the granite platform edge for safety.

“Due to Officer Swainson’s quick response, the woman was not seriously injured,” said Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn. “He did exactly what was expected, and we are enormously grateful for his actions.”

The 68-year-old Nashville woman was not hit by the approaching train. An emergency response crew pulled her out from under the platform and took her to an area hospital with injuries that were not believed to be serious.

Officers from 18 transit properties across the country joined the Metro Transit Police today to help provide security for the Metro riders on Inauguration Day. After being deputized to police in Washington area on Monday, Jan. 19, the officers received a safety briefing from the Metro Transit Police about what to expect and what to do in emergency situations.

During the morning incident, Red Line riders faced major delays. Normal service resumed around 10:15 a.m.

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News release issued at 7:45 pm, January 20, 2009.

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