Woman plucked from subway tracks meets her angels

Published: November 6, 2005 | 2610th good news item since 2003

Rosalia DeSantis hugged her two guardian angels yesterday.

Her soft voice didn’t hide her gratitude for two strangers who plucked her off a TTC subway track moments before a train rumbled into the Lawrence West station.

Theo Parusis, 25, and Alvaro Mejia, 26, risked life and limb with only seconds to spare when they jumped onto the track to rescue DeSantis, who had fainted and fallen 1.5 metres off the platform around 4 p.m. Friday.

They met at Sunnybrook hospital yesterday, their lives intersecting for the second time, and she praised them for their heroic effort.

“I said, ‘Thank you, because you are my angels. I’m so happy you were there at the time,’ ” said DeSantis, 58, who became a grandmother seven months ago.

“I think they’re fantastic,” DeSantis said. “I call them my angels. Yes they are, they deserve all the credit.”

‘ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL’

She said “it’s absolutely wonderful” knowing there are strangers who still care about others, who’d help those in need.

“I don’t know what to say,” Mejia said. “I don’t feel like a hero. I just saved a life.”

Parusis humbly agreed.

“I wouldn’t say hero,” he said. “It’s just a part of what we should be. If we all helped each other, it would be a much better place.”

DeSantis, a secretary who works for CUPE and was headed home at the time, said she doesn’t remember anything other than not feeling well. She was dizzy, feeling hot, and there seemed to be a lack of air.

“And then, as they say, everything is history,” she said. “From what I was told, I was on the tracks and the train was coming in. I woke up in emergency.” She was then told of what happened.

“I’m very happy they were there, and I thank God they were there to help me,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis wants to go home, but will keep in touch with her two new-found friends.

Witnesses told Toronto police Const. Scott Villers of 13 Division that she had leaned over to see if a train was arriving, leaned back onto the platform and then fainted.

She banged her head and was sprawled over the track, bleeding.

The two men had only seconds to spare before the train was to arrive, and being at the entrance to the tunnel, there was no chance the operator would see them.

‘TRAIN WAS COMING’

“My initial reaction was to jump down and check if she was still alive,” Parusis said. “I tried to bring her up, but I struggled, so (Mejia) jumped down and attempted to help me.

“And an incoming train was coming,” the warehouse worker said. “As soon as we saw the incoming train, we panicked and we just got an adrenalin rush and managed to get her up in time.

“Five seconds later, the train just passed by,”said Parusis.

“I didn’t think (about) anything, I just tried to help him,” said Mejia, who arrived from Colombia two months ago as a refugee.

Parusis said he didn’t think about anything other than going to her aid. “I just jumped, there’s no thought,” Parusis said. “It all happened so quickly. Of course, If I was in that situation, I hope someone would do the same thing.”

Villers, who will recommend the duo for citations, said while he won’t suggest people risk their lives like the two did, “what they did was incredible.”

Published in Heroes, Rescues
See also: torontosun.com
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