A blind man and his service dog survived a fall onto a New York City subway track Tuesday, narrowly missing an oncoming train.
The incident occurred at Manhattan's Harlem station when at approximately 9:30 a.m. 60-year-old Cecil Williams reportedly felt faint on his way to a dentist appointment and collapsed onto the tracks.
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The man's 11-year-old black Labrador retriever, Orlando, attempted to prevent Williams from falling onto the tracks. However, according to witnesses, the dog was unable to hold up the man's weight, the New York Post reported
As Williams fell, Orlando reportedly began barking incessantly to alert other commuters before leaping onto the tracks to be by the blind man's side as a train approached.
Bystander Matthew Martin, 54, told the New York Post that the dog didn't hesitate as he leaped down to help Williams.
"He went down, and the dog jumped down," he said. "He wasn’t pulled. He was kissing him, trying to get him to move."
A nearby MTA employee ran to the pair and instructed them to crouch down between the rails and lie still as the incoming train passed overhead, while others on the track attempted to alert the conductor that Williams and his seeing eye dog were on the tracks, CNN reported
Orlando reportedly never left Williams' side during the entire ordeal on the tracks.
"He was definitely this man’s best friend. When the train was coming, the dog didn’t move," Ana Quinones, 53, told the New York Post. "The dog was loyal to his master. He tried to save him. He was trying to pull him away when he was too close to the edge. He risked his own life to save his owner."
Firefighters arrived at the scene and removed Williams and Orlando from the train tracks, finding the pair lying together beneath the train's second car.
Having suffered a cut to his head from the fall, Williams was taken to St. Luke's Hospital. Neither Williams nor Orlando suffered any serious injuries, Fox News reported
"The dog saved my life," Williams told the AP from the hospital. "I’m feeling amazed. I feel that God, the powers that be, having something in store from me. They didn’t take me away this time. I’m here for a reason."
Williams, who became blind due to meningitis in 1995, couldn't say what made him faint onto the tracks Tuesday, only that he was on several medications at the time including insulin, Fox News reported.
Sadly, Williams says he will be unable to keep Orlando. Due to the dog's age and pending retirement, he will no longer be covered by the 60-year-old's insurance company next year.
Williams, who claims he cannot afford to provide care for Orlando without help from the insurance company, says he will soon be seeking a loving adoptive family for his beloved dog, though he wishes he could keep him himself.
"If I had the money," Williams added, "I would definitely keep him."
Williams will be teamed up with another service dog at some point in the near future.
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