Commuter rescued from train tracks

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An off-duty police officer has become a hero in Spain after rescuing a man who fell on to Madrid's underground Metro tracks seconds before the passage of an oncoming train.

Security camera images of the rescue, which took place on Friday, have been released by Spanish police and are now circulating on YouTube.

The police video shows a man totter backwards to the edge of the platform and fall into the path of the on-coming train at the Puerta del Angel Metro station. Other passengers, on the opposing platform, wave frantically to halt the train conductor but to no avail. The video then shows the officer, whose name was given only as Angel, jump on to the tracks and drag the man out of harm's way seconds before the train speeds by.

"I saw the train coming and I didn't hesitate," says the Metro hero, shown only in silhouette in the police video. "I went running, I took off my jacket and jumped on the tracks seconds before the train."

The day of the rescue, the 30-year-old officer had been returning home from a shopping trip with his girlfriend on his day off. As they stood on the platform, he heard passengers shout.

"That's when I realised there was a problem," he said in an interview with Efe news agency, also broadcast on YouTube, in which he appears with his back to the camera, revealing only his badge. "Then I see the train coming head on, the people shouting at the conductor and I jump. I saw the conductor was trying to stop the train but there wasn't time. I pulled the man to drag him to the opposing tracks, watching to see if a train was coming from the other direction."

The security camera video shows the officer finally hoist the man on to the opposite platform with the help of the bystanders on the platform, then climb to safety himself with their help.

"They train us for situations like this," said the officer, who swore his oath of duty only two months prior to the incident.

The president of the Madrid regional government, Esperanza Aguirre, said the officer would receive a Medal of Citizen Merit.