An Edmonton man said there was “no time to think” after he rescued another man who fell onto the LRT tracks.
Chris Sampson, 27, was at the Churchill station around 8 a.m. on Friday on his way to NAIT when heard a commotion and then saw two men arguing.
“I start walking from the end of the platform going towards where the guys were shouting. When I got there, the bell for the train rings,” he said.
“One of the other guys starts walking away. He gets sucker punched in the back on the head. He immediately falls unconscious and falls onto the tracks.”
That’s when Sampson jumped into action.
“I threw my tablet and my bag down and jumped onto the tracks. I started lifting the guy up, he was a pretty big guy so I wasn’t able to get him up on my own,” he said.
Sampson said another bystander jumped onto the tracks to help lift the man up onto the platform, all while the LRT was approaching the station.
“I’m down on the tracks. My first try to get up, I slip and I don’t make it. It’s at that point I look down and there are alarms ringing, the train is honking its horn. There are people on the end of the platform waving their hands, trying to slow the driver down,” he said.
Fortunately, Sampson said the LRT stopped a few metres away from where he was. He estimates the whole ordeal lasted approximately two minutes.
Staff Sgt. Randy Wickins with the Edmonton Police Service said three police officers happened to be on the platform at the time and witnessed the altercation.
One man was taken into custody and is charged with aggravated assault.
The second man is still in hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. Wickins added police do not believe the two men knew one another.
“I see he needs help. You just have to do it. You can’t weigh all your options at the time,” Sampson said when asked why he got involved.
“I watched a documentary a while ago about the bystander effect. I don’t ever want to be a bystander. I don’t want to watch something happen… I think it would be way worse to be a bystander and know you could have helped someone and you didn’t.”
Sampson said his own safety didn’t come to mind until he saw the LRT approaching.
“It started running through my mind, oh I might get hit by a train. I was definitely afraid for my life for a couple seconds,” he said.
Lori Yanish, a spokesperson for the City of Edmonton, said the incident did not disrupt LRT operations Friday morning and it was a combination of things that resulted in the best-case scenario.
“It was a terrible situation but it was managed fairly well,” she said, adding everything was handled according to textbook or perhaps even better.
“It was a good outcome.”
Sampson said he doesn’t like to be in the limelight but he admits that he considers himself a hero in some ways, despite not wanting the title.
“I never thought I would be in that kind of situation but here I am. I’m glad I reacted that way,” he said, adding he is now mulling whether to change careers from being an electrician to an EMT or firefighter.