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A homeless man narrowly escaped death Friday night when a subway train somehow completely passed over him after he fell on the tracks while attempting to retrieve a bag of food.
The unidentified man was on the northbound platform of the No. 1 train station at 181st Street in Washington Heights at about 10:30 p.m. when his friend tried to toss a bag a food to him from the opposite platform, witnesses said.
The 68-year-old man then climbed down off the platform to retrieve the food bag — stuffed with rice, beans and catfish — but lost his footing while he was on the track bed, witnesses said.
A train came screaming into the station while the victim was down on the tracks, so he squeezed into the trough and was unscathed after the train rolled over him.
“He tried to jump down [on the tracks] and get the food. But then boom, he fell,” said Pedro Cruz, 60, the friend who chucked the bag of food across the tracks. “He fell right behind the food.”
After he saw his friend fall, Cruz said he raced to help him.
“I jumped down after him. I couldn’t get him,” Cruz said, adding that he then tried to stop the train that was speeding down the track. “I said, ‘Yo! Yo! Yo! Lay down under the train!’
“He’s lucky because he got in the track underneath the train,” Cruz added.
A number of other Good Samaritans also tried to help the homeless man as the train approached the station.
“We all rushed down there,” said straphanger James Agyeman, 23. “I was really scared. All of us tried to wave down the conductor, but he was close.”
Another witness said the train motorman looked shocked as he pulled into the station and passed right over the man on the track.
“I saw the conductor’s face and it was all red. He looked shocked. This s–t is crazy,” Roy Gomez, 27, of The Bronx said.
First responders rushed to the scene after several 911 calls and found the man sandwiched between the track and the train.
Police and firefighters were able to free him from the spot and he walked away from the scene uninjured, authorities said.
He was taken to Harlem Hospital as a precaution and is expected to be fine, authorities said.
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