A HEROIC off-duty soldier saved an injured woman’s life by dragging her off railway tracks as a high speed train hurtled towards her.
Billy McPhail, of Devonshire Road in Laindon, has been hailed a hero after clambering over live rails to help the woman, who had slipped from the station platform and broken her ankle.
Mr McPhail, 26, who is training to be a paratrooper, jumped down onto the track, and with the help of another commuter scooped the woman – aged in her sixties – on to the platform, saving her life.
Commuters who witnessed the incident praised the former De La Salle pupil on social media, but he shrugged off the compliments.
He said: “I am really not a hero, I just acted on instinct.
“I was just thinking, ‘if I don’t get her off the tracks then she will die’.
“My dad said I was an idiot to risk my life but I would like to think if I was ever in an accident then someone would jump in and rescue me.”
Mr McPhail was waiting for a train at Strood Station, in Kent, at about 6.05am last Thursday. He said: “I was on the opposite platform 200 yards away and I saw the lady fall down in between the tracks and then heard the train horn coming.
“I put my phone in my pocket, jumped down and ran across the track – narrowly missing the train coming from the other direction.
“Everyone was screaming and shouting but I was not really thinking about what I was doing.
“I saw her ankle bent the wrong way, so I knew she was hurt and I couldn’t move her on my own.
“I called to another guy to help, he jumped down and other people ran along the platform to try and flag down the train.
“Luckily, it managed to stop a few yards away from us at the end of the platform.”
The pair managed to lift the woman on to the platform and stayed with her until the ambulance service arrived.
Mr McPhail, who was visiting friends in Medway at the time of the incident, added: “The lady was in bits, she was crying, she was really scared.
“I don’t know her name but I spoke to her husband to tell him what had happened to her and he was really grateful.”
Mr McPhail hopes to join the parachute regiment in Colchester after completing his training.
A spokesman from Southeastern Trains, which operates Strood Station, said: “What Mr McPhail did was commendable, he took it upon himself to save this woman’s life.
“However Strood Station has a live electrical line and our advice is usually in the event of an emergency to contact station staff and they will call the signallers to cut power to the line.
“However Mr McPhail acted on instinct and without any regard for his own safety,