Limerick paramedic saves the day

The 49th Street subway station, where the accident occurred
The 49th Street subway station, where the accident occurred
The 49th Street subway station, where the accident occurred

A PARAMEDIC from Limerick was a member of the emergency response team who helped to rescue Belfast woman Mary Downey (22) when she became trapped underneath a New York subway train, along with fireman Sean Cummins from Dublin.

Niall O’Shaughnessy, who lives in Long Island, told RTÉ’s John Murray show that the trio started laughing underneath the train when they realised they all hailed from Ireland.

Ms Downey miraculously escaped with just a broken shoulder after three trains passed within inches of her when she fell on to the tracks at 49th Street station near Times Square at around 6am on Sunday, June 29.

Niall had just begun his shift when he was called to attend a “man under” situation, which means that a person has been hit by a train and is still under it.

“I noticed that the firefighter had a bit of an accent and he told me he was from Dublin. I said ‘I’m from Limerick’ and then the patient told us she was from Belfast. Underneath the train we all had a laugh about it, including Mary herself,” explained Niall.

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The paramedic, who has worked for the New York fire service for eight years, said he usually expects the worst when he gets a “man under” call, which occurs once or twice a day in New York.

“People are rarely as lucky as Mary was to walk away from it, it’s usually a fatality. At the start we didn’t realise that three trains had run over her, we thought it was just the one, which would have been bad enough.”

Niall revealed that Mary may have survived by rolling into a depression between the railway tracks, and then ducking into an alcove under the platform after unsuccessfully attempting to climb back up after the first train passed by.

He concluded: “To be honest, she was blessed, completely blessed that there happened to be these areas and she happened to recognise them and tucked herself in.”

via Limerick paramedic saves the day (331 with pic and quote box) | Limerick Post Newswrite.