An elderly Great Neck man fell up to his left hip in the gap between a Long Island Rail Road train car and the platform, suffering bruises and lacerations to his face, chest and arms, an LIRR spokesman said Monday.
Ben Goldman, 92, who fell into the gap on the eastbound platform of the Great Neck station at 9:01 p.m. Sunday, may be released this afternoon from North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, his wife said in a brief interview. A hospital spokesman said he was in stable condition Monday.
Dorothy Goldman said she and her husband were getting off the train on their return from a trip to Manhattan when he "disappeared."
"I always walk behind him because he gives me his hand to help me, but suddenly, he disappeared," she said.
"There was a wonderful young man who picked him up. I wish I knew his name," she said. She added that railroad personnel who assisted the couple also were "wonderful."
Ben Goldman fell "at least on his left side up to his left hip" as he left the sixth car, LIRR spokesman Sal Arena said.
"My husband lost his glasses and the conductor said he would go down and get them," Dorothy Goldman said. "I said, 'Don't risk your life.' But he said it was OK, and he got them."
She said she was aware of the gap problem and was always careful when getting on and off LIRR trains. "I walk with my eyes down," she said.
Neither she nor her husband had problems with the gap before, she said, but everyone is aware of the potential danger posed by the overall gap situation.
"One of the doctors even mentioned the gap," she said.
The LIRR has spent millions to reduce the space between trains and station platforms and to alert riders with "Watch the Gap" warnings since a 2007 Newsday series exposed hundreds of injuries suffered by passengers who fell into that gap.
Edgeboards have been installed to extend station platforms by 1 inch, and metal threshold plates have been added to the base of the doors of train cars, with the goal of lessening the average gap width from 8 inches to 5 inches.
Measurements taken Monday by a Newsday reporter at three places on the Great Neck station's eastbound platform found a gap of 7 inches, 7 inches and 8 inches between the lip of the platform and the floor at the train door.
Arena said edgeboards were installed on the platforms there in August 2009. The edgeboards have been installed at 100 of the LIRR's 124 stations, he said.
About a dozen riders interviewed at the Great Neck station said they'd had no problems with the gaps, and had not seen others who had problems with them there.The doors on the last two or three cars of six trains observed Monday did not open for passengers at the curved western end.
After Goldman's fall, the train was delayed for 13 minutes as staff members helped him and called for an ambulance, LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan said.
Donovan said LIRR staff inspected the train and the platform and "didn't notice any problems."