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FDNY firefighter and paramedic who jumped on the tracks to save Mary Downey were both raised in Ireland. Photo by: New York Post

Irish reunion on NYC subway tracks during miracle woman’s rescue

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FDNY firefighter and paramedic who jumped on the tracks to save Mary Downey were both raised in Ireland. Photo by: New York Post

The luck of the Irish was definitely with Mary Downey on Sunday (June 29) when she fell on the NYC subway tracks, was passed over by three trains and came through relatively unscathed. Yet who could have guessed that an Irish reunion would take place during her rescue? It turns out her knights in shining armor both grew up in Ireland.

At 6am on Sunday morning Downey (22) had been listening to music on the platform at 49th Street and Broadway when she fell onto the tracks, fracturing her shoulder. She managed to drag herself to safety as an N train approached. She lay at the side of the tracks but remained unseen as another two trains rattled through the station. The third train’s operator raised the alarm.

Minutes later her rescuers were on the scene.

Firefighter Sean Cummins and Rescue Medic Niall O’Shaughnessy were two of the first responders. Having determined that Downey, still on the tracks, was in a good condition O’Shaughnessy heard that Cummins had an accent and asked, “Where are you from?”

Downey, thinking he was speaking to her, said “Belfast.”

Cummins then revealed he is from Dublin and O’Shaughnessy said he was from Limerick.

The police officer on site joked, “What is this, an Irish reunion?”

Miraculously Downey was removed from the tracks after the third train operator had spotted her waving from the crevice between the platform and the tracks. The police were soon on the scene.

Firefighters from Rescue 1 and Rescue Paramedics from Station 4 responded to a call for a person on the tracks. Once the power to the tracks was turned off Firefighter Sean Cummins jumped down to help.

A police officer was already with Downey and was trying to keep her immobile. According to NYC.gov’s report she has been listening to music on her headphones, which became entangled in her hair. Both her shoulder and abdomen were injured.

Rescue Medic O’Shaughnessy jumped between the subway cars and began assessing her injuries and administered an IV as they continued preparing to remove her to the street. She was alert and seemed to be doing well. Once stabilized she was removed, between two subway cars, and transported to Bellevue Hospital.

Both Cummins and O’Shaughnessy said they have responded to many call outs on the subway tracks but have rarely seen the patient doing so well.

O’Shaughnessy said, “To say she was lucky was an understatement.”

Cummins added, “I was just delighted in general that she was ok. Only in New York does something like this happen.”

The media have been searching for Downey to hear firsthand about her terrifying, miraculous escape, 

IrishCentral discovered that she spent Sunday night after the accident on a friend’s couch on Katonah Avenue and she is recovering well from her brush with death.

Rescue Medic Niall O’Shaughnessy (left) and Firefighter Sean Cummins.

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