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Last updated: March 29. 2013 4:37PM - 1799 Views
Associated Press



In this still image taken from security video provided by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Christopher Knafelc jumps off a subway platform in north Philadelphia to help a man who fell onto the tracks Thursday afternoon, March 28, 2013. Knafelc, 32, jumped down to help the man, knowing that a train would be arriving in a few minutes. Train traffic was halted and the man was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition. (AP Photo/SEPTA)
In this still image taken from security video provided by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Christopher Knafelc jumps off a subway platform in north Philadelphia to help a man who fell onto the tracks Thursday afternoon, March 28, 2013. Knafelc, 32, jumped down to help the man, knowing that a train would be arriving in a few minutes. Train traffic was halted and the man was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition. (AP Photo/SEPTA)
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(AP) A recovering drug addict with a long rap sheet is being hailed as a hero for jumping onto subway tracks in Philadelphia to rescue a man.


Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Knafelc was waiting for a train at a station in north Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon when he saw a man walk off the platform and fall on the tracks. He jumped down to help the man, knowing that another train would be arriving in a few minutes.


Knafelc tells the Philadelphia Daily News he has struggled with drug addiction for most of his adult life but is getting his life back on track.


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority spokeswoman Jerri Williams says she thinks Knafelc "kind of surprised himself" by his good deed. She says this could mean the start of really good things in his life.


THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.


Transit police in Philadelphia are calling a local man a hero for jumping onto subway tracks to help a man who fell off a platform.


Christopher Knafelc, 32, was waiting for a train in north Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon when he saw a man walk off the platform and fall on the tracks. He jumped down to help the man, knowing that a train would be arriving in a few minutes.


"I had a plan if a train came I was going to roll him underneath," Knafelc told WPVI-TV, "or if I couldn't, I was going to ask someone to jump down and help me roll him."


He held the man's head and neck stable until firefighters arrived. Train traffic was halted.


"I was like 99.9 percent positive that I wouldn't get electrocuted," Knafelc told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I can't see (the tracks) being able to electrocute you, because too many people would get hurt."


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III called Knafelc a hero.


"This is what Philadelphia is all about," Nestel said.


Investigators don't know what caused the man to fall on the tracks. He was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition.


"He didn't thank me, but I know he was thankful," Knafelc told the Daily News. "You know what I mean? In my heart I believe he was."


Knaflec said he has battled substance abuse since he was in middle school in Baden, a small town outside Pittsburgh, where he said he was first introduced to OxyContin and moved on to heroin by high school.


He said he studied neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh but dropped out as his addiction worsened, then spent a decade in and out of rehab.


He came to Philadelphia, where his mother and a cousin live, two years ago to get his life back on track, he said. A telephone message left at what was believed to be his mother's home was not immediately returned Friday.


"With addiction, you really struggle to be you," he told the newspaper. "I reacted, and that was me. It helps reinforce that I am good. That I am a good person."


Associated Press
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