Queens woman finds her subway heroes

(Credit: Urbanite)

Balwan Prashad, left, and Gregory Grajko (Photos: Jefferson Siegel, RJ Mickelson)

By Marlene Naanes

Imagine Prunella Manhertz’s surprise when she found out that not one, but two men came forward yesterday to say they saved her after she tumbled onto subway tracks.

The Queens woman was desperate to thank the man who plucked her off the downtown tracks of the 51st Street-Lexington subway station after she fainted and fell. The men came forward after amNewYork featured Manhertz’s story in an article Thursday

“They were good to me. They were very good,” said Manhertz, of Jamaica, when told that two men came forward. “I can’t find words to express my thanks. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today.”Both men said yesterday that they were tormented by not knowing what happened to Manhertz. After she was safe in the arms of police officers, both men said they jumped onto a train and rushed to their respective jobs.

Transit officials said police did not have surveillance video of the incident, which happened last Thursday just before 8 a.m.

Balwan Prashad, 32, a Metro-North Railroad electrician from Long Island, was standing on the crowded No. 6 train platform when a packed train crawled out of the station. He saw Manhertz on the platform near the end of the train, where she stumbled while trying to board the car. When the train had pulled out, she fell onto the tracks.

“She was laying across one of the rails,” he said, adding that her head was close to the third rail. “The train was approaching — she would have been killed.”

So he jumped. Prashad said he alone picked up the woman and handed her to people on the platform above, before quickly going back to pick up her purse and bag. The next train was coming, so he briefly contemplated laying between the tracks to shield himself before he jumped up to the platform to safety.

Afterward, Prashad went to work dirty, greasy and a little shaken up, his supervisor said. He tried to find out how the woman fared later that afternoon and the next day, and finally spoke to Manhertz over the phone on Thursday.

“Metro-North is extremely proud of this particular employee who showed tremendous courage and heroism,” said Marjorie Anders, a railroad spokeswoman.

Another man, Gregory Grajko, 26, a secretary at New York University Hospital, said he also helped Manhertz to safety. Grajko said Manhertz fell, and another man jumped to the tracks just before he did.

“I seen her hitting the train tracks with her head,” he said. “She hit the train tracks so hard.”

Grajko said he and the other man, whom he only remembers as being dark-skinned, pushed the woman up to people on the platform. He then went to work, showing up with dirty pants from the ordeal, co-worker Maria Colon said.

“He even had her blood on his shoes,” she said. “He was shaken up, his hands were shaking.”

Grajko is happy to know that Manhertz is recovering from her fall, bruised with stitches above one eye.

“I wondered if she was even alive because she slammed the train tracks so hard,” he said. “I went to the police…the workers on train tracks. Nobody knew what happened.”

Manhertz said she is going to send each man a card and write something special. She and Prashad already made plans to meet soon.

“I said to him I cannot find words to express my thanks….you are phenomenal,” Manhertz said.

Tags: subway , heroes , mta , transportation , transit , queens , manhattan

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