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New Taipei student recounts rescuing woman who fell onto train tracks

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The Municipal Yong-Ping High School student surnamed Lee (center) poses with the school principal Shen Mei-hua (left) and teacher (right) for a picture Monday. Photo courtesy of The Municipal Yong-Ping High School

Taipei, Feb. 27 (CNA) A New Taipei high school student has recounted how he rescued a 76-year-old woman who fell onto the train tracks Saturday at Taiwan Railway's Banqiao Station.

The 18-year-old Municipal Yong-Ping High School student, surnamed Lee (李), spoke to the media about the incident Monday alongside the school's principal and his guidance counselor.

Lee said he and a friend were eating breakfast and waiting for a train at around 8 a.m. Saturday when they heard people shouting from the end of the platform that someone had fallen onto the tracks.

At the time, he said, lights had already begun flashing, signaling that a train was approaching.

"If the lights weren't flashing, I would have called a station worker. But they were flashing, and the train was coming, so I worried there was no time for that," he said.

After noticing a row of pillars between the northbound and southbound tracks, Lee said, he made the decision to jump down and help the woman before the train arrived.

He quickly lifted the woman under his arm and carried her to the safe area between the two sets of tracks, while shouting for his friend to go get help, he said.

Lee said he tried to speak to the woman to calm her down, but that she was too panicked to reply. Soon after, a station worker arrived, but as the train was already nearing the station, he told them to wait where they were until it came to a stop.

Once the train stopped, the station worker helped them back onto the platform, where the old woman was treated for minor injuries to her leg.

At the same time, Lee called his parents to let them know he was fine. He said both his mother and father were alarmed by what he had done, but ultimately trusted his judgment, while his grandmother praised him for his bravery.

Shen Mei-hua (沈美華), the school's principal, also expressed concern for Lee's safety, but said she understood after speaking to him that he had clearly thought through what he was doing.

The school is planning to issue him a citation for his actions, she said.

Taiwan Railways, meanwhile, said that in situations where people fall onto the tracks, other passengers should immediately notify a station worker, rather than jumping down to help and also endangering themselves.

The railway said it is also evaluating installing automatic doors along its station platforms -- similar to those on Taiwan's MRT systems -- although such a plan would be complicated by the various train models that are currently in use.

A trial program to set up platform doors will be held at Kaohsiung Station in the second half of this year, the railway added.

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