By Howard Koplowitz
Seconds later, the Columbia University mechanic and Guyanese immigrant became an unlikely hero when he rescued a man who fell onto the tracks on the northbound No. 1 line at Broadway.”I heard screaming and people running in different directions,” Kalimuthu said in a phone interview two weeks after he made the daring rescue March 14 at the subway stop at Broadway after leaving his job at Columbia at 5 p.m. “I looked across [the tracks] and I saw this guy in the middle of the track,” he said. “I didn't have time to think. I jumped into the track and I jumped over all the rails. I wasn't stopping for no reason. Every second counts.”Kalimuthu, 46, said no trains were headed for the track when he grabbed the trapped man.”He was dead weight,” Kalimuthu said. “He wasn't moving and he was groaning like he was hurt.”He said it took all his might to lift up the man, who was about 30 pounds heavier than Kalimuthu, a former professional cricket player from Guyana.”He's a heavy guy. I picked him up by his legs and I put him on my shoulder and I did a squat,” he said.Kalimuthu carried the man to the end of the platform, where he was helped by two men standing at the edge.”I just gave an extra push and [the men] pulled him over the platform,” he said.”Everybody was cheering,” Kalimuthu said, noting that he dashed back across the tracks instead of jumping onto the platform and using stairs to get to his southbound train for his commute home.”I wasn't thinking about that,” he said.The heroic act only struck him when he transferred to the F train after taking the B from the No. 1.”I got on the F train and I realized what I did,” he said. “Somebody had to help. I told my wife and she didn't believe me.”Kalimuthu's rescue resembled that of Wesley Autrey, a Harlem man who went down onto the subway tracks at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan.Autrey saved a man who was having a seizure by grabbing and pulling him onto the middle of the tracks as they ducked while an oncoming train passed by.Autrey received $10,000 from Donald Trump, two Jeep Patriots, attended the State of the Union address as a guest of the president and made talk show appearances.But Kalimuthu has yet to receive any recognition.Rance Huff, a spokesman for City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), said the councilman plans to honor Kalimuthu for his bravery at City Hall.Kalimuthu said he has not yet been able to meet the man he rescued because he was taken to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital.”He's not physically fit for that right now,” he said.Kalimuthu moved to Queens from Guyana in 1991. He has worked as a mechanic for Columbia for 11 years.”I love this country and you have to help people,” he said. “If I come to another situation like that, I will always help.”Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.