Man survives falling in front of New York subway train by ducking down beneath tracks as carriages thunder inches above his head

55-year-old miraculously escapes with only mild bruising to his left hand

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The Independent US

A man has survived falling in front of a New York subway train by ducking down between the tracks as the packed carriages thundered just inches above his head.

The incident, which took place on Saturday at Manhattan’s Union Square station, stunned passengers – many of whom were convinced Ralph Mercado stood little chance of surviving after he fell in front of the decelerating R-line train.

Instead the 55-year-old escaped with only mild bruising to his left hand.

Exactly how he ended up on the tracks in unclear, with Mr Mercado apparently telling police that he’d deliberately jumped to rescue a stricken woman. The New York Post, however, quotes witnesses as saying Mr Mercado simply fell.

He remains listed as being in a stable condition at Bellevue Hospital, and is understood to be undergoing a psychological evaluation.

The Post quotes a witness named Troy saying: “He did like a push up and went down. It rolled right over him... The train was moving as slow as possible.”

As well as witnessing the entire incident, Troy – an artist from Manhattan – filmed its aftermath, during which rescuers raced onto the tracks to bring Mr Mercado to safety, and onlookers can be heard shouting “He’s alive”.

In the clip, Mr Mercado can be seen screaming and desperately reaching out to rescuers from within the trough beneath the tracks.

The video has subsequently been posted on YouTube.

So far this year, 145 people have been kit by subway trains in New York – a rate of around three a week. Of these, 52 died as a result of their injuries.