Courtesy of Bryce Demopoulos

Bryce Demopoulos '23 became a local hero on Aug. 4 when he bravely rescued a man from the subway tracks in NYC.

August 9, 2022

Cornellian Rescues Man from NYC Subway Tracks Seconds Before Train Approaches

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Early in the morning on Thursday, Aug. 4 Bryce Demopoulos ’23 was on his way to a hardware store with NYU student Andre Dubovskiy to buy wires to build a rotor for his summer research job at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

Upon entering the Third Avenue-138 Street subway station, Dubovskiy walked off to view the train schedule while Demopoulos waited on the platform.

At around 7 a.m., Demopoulos was the sole witness when an intoxicated man stumbled onto the subway tracks. He realized the man could not get onto the platform.

”I saw him try to get up by himself briefly and then fall back down. That pretty much cinched it, like right away I knew he couldn’t get out on his own. I heard all these trains coming so I knew I needed to help him out,” Demopoulos said. 

Acting mainly on impulse, Demopoulos had to think fast when jumping into the tracks.

“I knew I needed to get him out of the track,” Demopoulos said. ”It was just three simple steps in my head. Going in, helping him out, and then climbing out on my own.”

In an 18-second rescue that was captured on video, Demopoulos jumped onto the tracks to save the man. After helping him up, Demopoulos climbed to safety himself just as the headlights of the No. 6 train came into view.

As soon as they were safe on the platform, MTA officers approached the two men and reprimanded them for being on the track. According to Demopoulos, the officers quickly became aware of the reality of the situation and commended Demopolos for his bravery.

The MTA officers considered detaining the man, but he was ultimately released.

The man was appreciative towards Demopoulos and thanked him for saving his life, telling him he didn’t know how to ever repay him. He was then said to have made a joke about how his family and friends always said his alcoholism would get him killed, asserting that Demopolos helped prove them wrong.

In a reflection of the incident, Demopoulos explained that he had once faced his own near-death experience while mountain-climbing. Seeing another man in a similar helpless position to his own compelled him to act quickly to rescue him.

“It wasn’t my life I was worried about, it was someone else whose life depended on my actions,” Demopoulos said. “I had to help.”