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Video shows rescue from tracks

Newly released video shows a daring and dangerous rescue of a man who in August fell onto Metrorail tracks by another who bounded across two tracks, stepping on the flimsy cover of the electrified third rail.

The video, from ARLnow, captures Dimas Pinzon leaping over the Virginia Square tracks to hoist up a man who stumbled onto the trackbed just as a train was approaching.

Other Metro customers frantically waved and pointed to the crawlspace under the platform, which would provide refuge, but the man appeared dazed. Another customer waved his arms to signal the train's driver to slow, and the train stopped as it entered the station.

"I just said to hell with it, someone's gotta get to him," Pinzon told ARLnow in August.

The man who wandered onto the tracks appeared to be having a medical emergency, but it's not terribly uncommon for people to fall, especially from packed platforms. This morning, a Twitter user said he saw a man fall onto the tracks at Gallery Place.

In January, the Washington Post told the story of a wheelchair-bound woman who crashed onto the tracks at Union Station and was rescued, weeks after a blind man was killed after he walked onto the Gallery Place trackbed.

By Luke Rosiak  | October 20, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Orange Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Virginia to raise some speed limits
Next: Crash recording can be used at trial


Woohoo! And I am glad the train stopped!

Posted by: DOEJN | October 20, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I like the guy that decided to jump down second, but was afraid to jump over the third rails.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | October 20, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

OMG!!! Courageous act by Pinzon.

I'm just amazed that the train was able to stop that quickly. Most of them seem to come into the stations so fast.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | October 20, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Note that the station manager didn't show up until almost a minute and a half later, after the guy was back on the platform, and later than that man in the white shirt running from the opposite platform up the escalator, across the station and down the other side.

Posted by: cpwdc | October 20, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Fantastic! Dimas Pinzo is a hero! So few people would risk their lives these days for another. Might spill their starbucks or get dirt on their expensive shoes.

Posted by: defensorfortis | October 20, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Why is Pinzon being hailed as a hero? He stupidly jumped across the tracks, nearly frying himself on the third rail and what did he do when he got there? Just stood there awkwardly trying in vain to lift the man who fell. Meanwhile, the oncoming train was already stopped.

Posted by: trollboy69 | October 20, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Pinzon is being hailed as a hero b/c he thought of someone else's life before his own. He rushed to the aid of a stranger when he easily could've stood by and watched and thanked God it wasn't him; or just posted a comment criticizing those who actually did something. Perhaps he couldn't see that the train had stopped. I mean, he was busy trying to save a man's life! Also, if your life was hanging in the balance, would you want someone who could help you just assume that everything would be alright? No, you wouldn't. When you get a moment, read the parable of the good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke 10:25-37. It explains what Pinzon did. The End.

Posted by: miltonandmichele | October 20, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

The Bible is out of place here. Separation of Church and State.
Just because DC isn't a state doesn't mean the First Amendment doesn't apply.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | October 20, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I think Pinzon was great for helping, but that man who raced to signal the train to stop made the big difference. What was HIS name?

Posted by: dblue | October 20, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Uh Oh everybody--you totally forgot to point out that the rescuer is an illegal alien and should be deported, gosh everybody forgot!

Posted by: arlingtonian6 | October 20, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Send him back to Mexico. If illegals weren't here, this accident would never had happened.

Posted by: paliceag | October 21, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Bravo, bravo!! Thank you to Retired Marine Lt. Col Pinzon who bravely risked his life to help another person. I am so grateful to people like you!!

Since these types of incidents apparently are not uncommon, Metro should post more information about the third rail and how to avoid it. Many people, including me, would not be able to identify which rail is the "third rail."

But meanwhile, this was a spectacular rescue and we should all say thank you to Lt. Col Pinzon!!

Posted by: maryland4541 | October 21, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

Good Lord, getjiggly. I am not a fan of quoted scripture, but you need to learn the First Amendment. This is not a government-run website, nor is the poster the government.

Cheers to Pinzon. Wow. Though my first thought when watching the guy before he fell on the tracks was that he was texting?

Posted by: esmerelda123 | October 21, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see there are people like Dimas Pinzon and the others who helped this man.

Posted by: kmp1 | October 21, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

20 seconds. It took the man just 20 seconds to make a risky decision to jump and save the other man's life. Mad props to a genuine hero.

Posted by: HillRat | October 21, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree that it was all about the guy who signaled for the train to stop, because otherwise, who knows what would have happened. I believe that that was what made the difference, as well as the alertness of the train operator. Big props need to go to him, too. I criticize metro when they mess things up, but they should also be commended for good work when they do so.

Posted by: sharedgum | October 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

What was he thinking stepping on the 3rd rail cover? I thought everybody knows you step over that sucker.

Posted by: divi3 | October 21, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I am amazed that people don't fall onto the tracks multiple times during peak periods at Gallery Place. It is completely unsafe, given the crowding, especially when 6-car trains are utilized at rush hour. It's just a matter of time before someone is killed. I trust no one will consider it a surprise.

Posted by: faygokid | October 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

notice all the track lights went red, the train stopped because the station manager or whomever was on the cameras saw what happened.

Posted by: divi3 | October 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

actually maybe there were trains coming from both directions, so both sets of warning lights were on

Posted by: divi3 | October 21, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

When I watched the video, it also appeared to me that the man who fell had been texting. He was holding something in his hand, looking down at it while walking forward and then fell over the side.

Props to Pinzon for his heroism - but perhaps he should have let nature take it's course while an idiot took himself out of the gene pool.

Posted by: josetucson | October 21, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Bravo to the Good Samaritan who braved the tracks.

Great to see the video released.

Posted by: Gidgmom | October 21, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Great reactions on the part of the rescuers, and I'm glad the ones who jumped on the tracks weren't hurt! It is indeed encouraging to see this kind of selflessness.

Dr. G mentioned he thought it looked like the guy who fell had a medical emergency, but it didn't seem that way to me. On second viewing, I'm wondering if it looks to anyone else like he was texting and wasn't looking where he was going?

Posted by: emacco | October 21, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, looks like he might have been texting - also, is he wearing rollerblades? His feet look tall and the seem to be rolling slightly.

As for separation of church and state - huh?

Posted by: Dadrick | October 21, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

How long before Tareq Salahi claims credit as the rescuer in the video? (With Michaele willing to sign an affidavit as witness).

Posted by: Quizzical | October 21, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The guy that runs down the platform and stops the train is the real hero. The train had stopped by the time the guy jumps down. If the train doesn't stop the guy that falls is dead.

Posted by: redwing99 | October 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I love the women who are just standing still.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | October 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

That guy who ran down to stop the train moved pretty damn fast! I'd like to know who HE is.

Posted by: ohkate | October 21, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

There's nothing "daring" about what he did, the train had already stopped when he crossed the tracks.

Posted by: redmatt | October 21, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow, it only took six comments for the blithering morons to show up.

Hooray for Mr. Pinzon, and the other person who waved down the train.

And screw the morons here who have no lives but who have only stupid criticism for those who are the heroes that they will never, ever be.

Posted by: FrankIBC | October 21, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Pinzon is a hero, and the guy who sprinted down the platform to stop the train is also a hero.

Posted by: charodon | October 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Medical emergency, huh? Looked to me like he was completely absorbed in his iPhone.

Posted by: pswift00 | October 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"Many people, including me, would not be able to identify which rail is the "third rail.""
Look for the metal cover that says "Caution - 750 Volts". Hint: Its always on the outside, away from the platforms.

"Just because DC isn't a state "
This took place in Virginia, which is a state.

Posted by: wvp123 | October 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Hats off to all that jumped into action...

Posted by: -CMAC- | October 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

We can vastly improve Metro, little by little, by borrowing ideas from the best: the Japanese. Here's how to solve this problem:

Posted by: napokrov | October 21, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

We can vastly improve Metro, little by little, by borrowing ideas from the best: the Japanese. Here's how to solve this problem:

Posted by: napokrov | October 21, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

We can vastly improve Metro, little by little, by borrowing ideas from the best: the Japanese. Here's how to solve this problem:

Posted by: napokrov | October 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

We can vastly improve Metro, little by little, by borrowing ideas from the best: the Japanese. Here's how to solve this problem:

Posted by: napokrov | October 21, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't look to me like Pinzon was trying to actually rescue the guy from the train ... It looks like he saw the train had stopped or was stopping before he really jumped into action. Then he went to help the guy get back up on the platform ... calmly. So whoever criticizes him for his ineffectuality in hoisting the guy up is being silly.

And ... First Amendment? REALLY!? Last I read, the First Amendment also allows for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This means us American citizens can say whatever we like on forums such as this one. The truly stupid thing to do is to try to tell people they don't have a right to freedom of speech, including the freedom to state a religious/moral position ... particularly a perfectly valid one about helping others.

Posted by: DCJayhawk45 | October 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Lucky the train driver had finished texting.

Posted by: TheChileanPresidentIsMuchBetterRespondingToDisastersThanObama | October 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't think he was texting, it looks like he was reading off a sheet of paper. Rewatch, when he takes the dive off the platform, a white object the size of a piece of paper flies out of his hand, landing next to the third rail. Running across the tracks was heroic whether or not a train was coming. A person who manages to stumble onto the tracks can easily electrocute themselves on the third rail. I doubt direct contact with that rail is survivable. The real question is, if we can see most of the station from not one, but two separate cctv cameras, why is footage from incidents across the metrorail system not being released to the public? Many thanks to ARLnow for obtaining and posting this video, but what other video evidence of our poorly run and obviously hazardous metro system is being kept from us?

Posted by: smart-aleck | October 21, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The red lights at the platform edge are not uncommon. Metro switched the lights at many stations because the red is easier to see, more attention getting. I think they need them more at outside stations, than inside stations, because the glare can obscure the blinking. however ...

Points to everyone in the station who tried do so something. Whether it was waving arms, or telling the guy to go for the crawl space, or simply sprinting to the platform to help. You can't know which particular action will make the difference, and sometimes it's the combo that turns the tide. What counts is that they all acted, they didn't stand there.

But what the heck was up with the guy walking right off the edge? It's easy enough in a crowd to stumble, but he had the platform to himself and still walked right off the edge. Was he trying to kill himself?

Posted by: cb11 | October 21, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Pinzon couldn't see if the train was fully stopping. If you watch what he did, he looks to his right and sees the train approaching. Then he jumps down and runs across the tracks before the train completely stops.

Also, in reply to... "notice all the track lights went red, the train stopped because the station manager or whomever was on the cameras saw what happened."

What track lights? You can't see any in this video. I doubt anyone was actually watching this video stream when it happened.

Posted by: JTF- | October 21, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Why is Pinzon being hailed as a hero? He stupidly jumped across the tracks, nearly frying himself on the third rail and what did he do when he got there? Just stood there awkwardly trying in vain to lift the man who fell. Meanwhile, the oncoming train was already stopped.

Posted by: trollboy69

I presume you are one of those who, when a problem arises and gets solve, just criticize (while arms crossed) instead OF DOING SOMETHING. We don't need your ilk, and yes, Dimas Pinzon is a hero because he DARED to do something instead of passively watching to save somebody else's life, now whether what he did was reckless or not really doesn't matter.

Next time, get a pair of b..l.l.s and do something meaningful in life you worthless piece of ....

Posted by: eaglestrk01 | October 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see as news. I did something similar last year, at L'Enfant while coming back from a DC United game. A woman seized and fell on the tracks, a train was coming, and I had to jump down (but not across third rails) to pull her up and hand her to someone else to pull out--and our train didn't stop. I got out with maybe 10 seconds to spare.

My 8 year old son, watching and freaking out a little, said I was a hero, but I didn't think so--it had to be done, any human would do it. Cops came, wait wait wait, she ended up getting on another train, not even getting medical help that night.

I wonder if I could get footage--otherwise it feels like it never happened.

Posted by: anotherex-reader | October 21, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

HooYaa!!! Two heroes here: ret. Lt. Col. Pinzon and the other guy. Can we find out who stopped the train?

Posted by: merzydoats | October 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Medical condition? Looks like he was simply preoccupied to notice where he was walking. Yeah, of course it was nice of this guy to try and help, but I agree with a previous commenter than the guy who started running down the station to warn the train conductor was just what probably made the most difference.

Posted by: rocotten | October 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

HooYaa!!! Two heroes here: Ret. Lt. Col. Pinzon and the other guy. Can we find out who stopped the train?

(Uh-oh; looks like the latest version of FireFox isn't playing nicely with the chat room's java scripts...)

Posted by: merzydoats | October 21, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the true hero is the guy who immediately ran at top speed to stop the train at the exit from the tunnel. The man who bravely (and stupidly) jumped on the tracks did not do so, if you would pause the video, until (a) the train had stopped AND (b) he looked to the right to confirm the train had stopped. Kudos also the the guy on the other platform leaning over the tracks to also get the driver's attention to stop. If the train had not stopped, the man who fell WOULD have been hit, and even if Pizon had jumped down he would not have made it across the center divider before the train arrived. Pizon also was completely unsuccessful in getting the man up off the tracks--it was the guy who stopped the train who ran back, together with the guy in the white shirt who ran up the escalator to cross over, who pulled him back up onto the platform. Thus, I, too, want to know the name of the man who ran down the tracks (twice) to save the guy.

Posted by: ptichkapost | October 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

My hat's off to the person who ran toward the train and got it to stop short. I'd like to think in a similar situation, I'd be alert enough to think of that.

Posted by: yo_tamon | October 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

the guy driving the train deserves a medal, too. Way to be alert.

Posted by: danw1 | October 21, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

God bless Mr. Pinzon. That being said, he was one of the 'other Metro customers (that) frantically waved and pointed to the crawlspace under the platform.' Also, it appears he said 'the hell with it' once it aws clear that the train had already stopped well up the tracks...(I know, I'll fry for this).

Posted by: jahoby | October 21, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@FrankIBC who said, "Wow, it only took six comments for the blithering morons to show up."

Not this time, Frank. The facts are these - the "hero" identified in the article isn't the real hero. It's either the Metro staff viewing the monitors who stopped the trains and/or the unknown man who VERY quickly ran to signal the train to stop. There is NO way anyone could have lifted the fallen man and himself or herself if the train had continued. The fallen man was attempting to crawl into the gap and avoid the third rail. Meanwhile the "hero" ran across TWO sets of tracks and no less than TWO third rails and would have surely been killed as well if the train had continued unless he had crawled in the space as well.

Let's be clear about this - his bravery was commendable, nobody here doubts that. A good metaphor for this would be a soldier breaking rank and running wildly into a mine field to take one for the platoon. There is a reason they are highly trained to walk in each others footsteps, use detectors to scan for mines, use devices to explode them before the platoon crosses. To save lives and reduce unnecessary acts of heroism. Then if all else fails it's built into the system to reward soldiers for heroic acts *beyond* all these sensible precursors.

I appreciate bravery but when the act is unnecessary and lacks basic common sense then it's certainly not heroic.

** The standard has to be held VERY high, otherwise it would be meaningless. **

Posted by: JimGoldbloomVA | October 21, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The guy who fell off the platform was immersed in a book. It flies from his hands as he falls.

Pinzon was brave, and the guy who ran to the start of the platform was smart.

I never knew the third rails had covers on them. I thought the surfaces were electrified. I hope you're right about that, in case I need to be brave sometime.

Posted by: pundito | October 21, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Looks to me like the guy was reading his iPad and walked straight off the platform. "Medical Emergency"? More like he was busy reading New Moon.

Posted by: constdefender | October 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

dang, Goldboom, who pizzed in your Cheerios?!!

Posted by: osmor | October 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

It is bizarre reading all the comments critical of Mr. Pinzon's action. Whether he actually was in danger or not he was willing to put himself in danger to help someone in need of help and that is by any measure heroic.

Posted by: exbrown | October 21, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

When I was a kid I was knocked onto the tracks after a Redskins game when there was a large crowd. Someone like this got me out quickly and I will never forget it.

Posted by: Susan9 | October 21, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank GOD for Mr. Pinzon's actions, very brave. Back in the day his actions would be considered the norm now they are considered the exception and demeaned....

Posted by: dlfumuc | October 21, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

They're lucky this wasn't the NY subway. With the metal wheels, heavy trains and high speeds, the engineer could probably not have stopped the train in time to avoid creaming those two guys after being flagged as he entered the station.

Posted by: 20steveltd | October 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Is there any reason these trains could not slow BEFORE they enter a station instead of barreling in?

Posted by: TheChileanPresidentIsMuchBetterRespondingToDisastersThanObama | October 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Talk about survival of the fittest!

The guy who fell into the tracks was reading. That's when he should have died the FIRST time.

Then, his lack of survival instinct kicks in as the train approaches..."Oh, my knee sure hurts, and I think I skinned my elbow pretty badly. I'll just sit here and recover until the train stops on top of me." That's the SECOND time nature tried to take him out through faulty genetics.

But, NOOOOOOOOoooooo,

Dimas Pinzon risked his OWN life to step in where Mr. Magoo's wiring fell short. Now, he'll reproduce. Great. Hope Pinzon's kids are there to follow his kids around and keep them safe. What a waste.

The article sights a "medical emergency."


The dork was reading. The medical emergency would have been contraception when his parents got together.

How can he live with himself, endangering others by simply existing?

"Hey, buddy, mind if I borrow your common sense and survival instinct for a while? I don't have any of either."

I obviously have no sympathy for somebody dumb enough to fall off a platform while reading. The platform was empty. The moron could have sat down to read his book. And if you're gonna fall like an idiot, at least get up and save yourself. PUH-thetic.

With a brain like this, the guy probably got hit by a car leaving the hospital. He's probably dead right now.

Posted by: Thinker_ | October 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Or when he went back for his reading material, found his place again, sat down on the tracks and was hit by the next train.

Would NOT surprise me. Something is really wrong with that guy.

Posted by: Thinker_ | October 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Thinker's right. He said it all.
I have a feeling the guy you people say, was running to "stop" the train may have been running from the cops.............

Posted by: westportboy | October 21, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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