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MTA conductor saves straphanger’s life on F train in Jackson Heights

An MTA conductor saves the life of an F train passenger who suffered an apparent heart attack last week.
Photo by MTA/Patrick Cashin
By Bill Parry

An MTA worker is being hailed as a hero after his quick actions saved the life of a straphanger aboard an F train in Jackson Heights last week.

Conductor Kevin Bartsch was alerted by passengers that a 35-year-old rider was in distress shortly before 6:30 p.m. March 28 as the F train was pulling into the Roosevelt Avenue-74th Street station.

Bartsch raced two cars ahead and found the unconscious passenger slumped over in his seat suffering an apparent heart attack. The conductor, a former volunteer firefighter in Suffolk County and a trained EMT, determined the man did not have a pulse and began administering chest compressions and CPR. An EMT on the platform arrived in the subway car with a defibrillator and was about to use it when the man suddenly regained consciousness.

“I don’t consider myself a hero,” Bartsch told WPIX. “I did what I was trained to do.”

First responders arrived on the scene and transported the passenger to Elmhurst Hospital Center while Bartsch remained on the F train as it resumed its route after a short delay.

“Our personnel are trained to put safety first and deliver the best service possible to our customers, and part of the MTA Subway Action Plan to reduce delays involves pre-positioning EMTs so they can deliver help and resolve situations faster,” MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said. “We’re incredibly proud of our conductor and EMT and so thrilled that they were able to save a life.”

The MTA said it is planning to give Bartsch and award for his life-saving heroics.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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