Philadelphia Subway Hero Saves Stranger Who Fell on Tracks

Friday, 29 Mar 2013 01:23 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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Police are calling a Philadelphia man a hero after he jumped down onto subway tracks Thursday afternoon to save a stranger who had fallen off the platform.

Christopher Knafelc, 32, was waiting on a SEPTA platform bench for a southbound Broad Street Line train at the Cecil B. Moore station Thursday afternoon when an unidentified 63-year-old man walked right off the edge.

Surveillance footage shows Knafelc spring up and jump down onto the tracks. He then stabilized the man's neck and yelled up to the cashier to stop all southbound trains, which run every seven minutes.

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

Knaflec stayed with the man until firefighters arrived about 15 minutes later to transport the victim to Temple University Hospital.

"He didn't thank me, but I know he was thankful," Knaflec said, adding that the man seemed to be in too much pain to talk. "You know what I mean? In my heart I believe he was."

Knaflec said he had been on his way home from Temple University, where he was thinking about enrolling to pursue a medical degree.

According to, Knaflec once struggled with heroin addiction for a time when his daughter was born two years ago.

"I can't imagine not helping someone in that position," Knafelc told the Daily News. "I reacted, and that was me. It helps reinforce that I am good. That I am a good person."

In December, a man was thrown to his death by a crazed person in New York City's Times Square subway station. No one tried to help Ki Suk Han, 58, up from the tracks and he was crushed by an oncoming train.

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Following the accident, the New York Post published a grisly image of Han scrambling to pull himself back onto the platform on its cover. The photographer was slammed for trying to take a good picture rather than attempt to prevent a death.

Later that month, a 31-year-old woman was charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime for shoving a man to his death in front of a New York City subway because she believed him to be Muslim.

Related links:

NYC Subway Murder: Police Source Says Pusher Suspect Naeem Davis Confesses

Subway Pusher's Lawyer Says Fatal Shove May Have Been Justified

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