A man who investigators say fell between two BART trains at a San Francisco station Wednesday was pulled alive from the tracks following an unusual rescue effort by firefighters.
BART spokesperson Jim Allison tells SFist that at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, the 28-year-old male victim fell in between two cars of a Richmond-bound train as it entered the 24th Street/Mission Station.
ABC 7 reports that the man "appeared to be intoxicated" before "stumbling in front of the car."
The victim ended up "pinched at the waist between the second BART car and the train platform," ABC 7 reports (a scene that likely has viewers of Homicide: Life On The Streets recalling its "Subway" episode).
The victim "was very fortunate," San Francisco Fire Battalion Chief Charles Crane told ABC 7, in "how he maintained half his body above the area of the car, otherwise he would have been under it and obviously would have not survived."
Rescuers pushed the train over with inflatable airbags to rescue the man, who Allison says was pulled free by around 6:45.
"It comes out as flat as a pillow. It's very large," Crane says of the device used in the rescue. "They're called airbags, but they're very large, about 16 inches and they can move 20,000 pounds."
"They did an incredible job and it was a very unusual circumstance...We've never had that before," Crane says, explaining that this was the first time SFFD had used the equipment for this type of rescue.
The victim was semi-conscious during the rescue, CBS 5 reports. Crane says special care was taken to avoid injuring the man further during the extraction, including giving him medication to avoid "crush syndrome," in which a body will go into shock and renal failure following an injury like the one experienced by the victim. He was then transported to San Francisco General Hospital in serious condition, according to the SFFD.
BART resumed service after 90 minutes, Allison says, as following the rescue effort, work had to be done to ensure the tracks were still ready for use. As of Thursday morning, Allison did not have an update on the victim's condition.