An Angel Saved My Life, Said Man Who Plunged Onto Subway Tracks

Dec 23, 2010
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An angel saved his life according to a man using a wheelchair who plunged onto the subway tracks in front of a oncoming train.

Jerome Billings, a 60-year-old Bronx musician, fell on the a Harlem subway station tracks when he was reaching for a Bible and mistakenly pressed the throttle on his motorized wheelchair. After he toppled over the platform ledge, he saw the lights of a train speeding toward him. He lay on rails and prepared to die.

Billings, who is HIV-positive and suffers from an array of ailments, told the New York Daily News, “All these people were yelling, telling me that my hand was near the third rail. I didn’t know where the third rail was. I was petrified. I thought I was going to die,” Billings said from his hospital bed. “I’m laying down on the tracks and I can see the train coming. I can see the lights and I’m thinking, ‘It’s the last time I’ll ever see anything.’ I can feel the ground rumbling and I’m thinking I’m a goner.”

Suddenly, a heroic MTA worker, Carlos Betancourt, 40, jumped onto the tracks.

Billings said, “He was like an angel. He’s a hero. He saved my life. He jumped by himself.”

Three other men joined Betancourt to help pull up the 300-pound Billings. The heroic rescue happened in mere seconds before certain death. Betancourt told the Daily News that he didn’t think twice about jumping to the tracks to save Billings. “I didn’t even know the train was coming down the tunnel,” said Betancourt, a revenue collection agent. “I just did it.”

From his hospital bed with only a broken leg, Billings recounted, “It would have been such a horrible way to die. I fought off AIDS for 20 years, and now I’m going to go out like this. I couldn’t believe I was going to die on a dirty subway track.” He also asked to speak to the angel who saved his life.

Hero and angel Carlos Betancourt reunited with Billings at New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. They shook hands, posed for a few pictures and shared a couple laughs about cheating death.


Image Credit: Theodorakis/News

Author: Tessa