MBTA Officer Credited with Stopping Attempted Suicide

In an instant, Transit Police Detective Sean Conway kept a man from jumping on the train tracks.

Photo by Steve Annear

Photo by Steve Annear

If you call MBTA Transit Police Detective Sean Conway a hero, he’ll just tell you he was in the right place, at the right time, and merely doing his job.

On Wednesday, Conway sprang into action when he saw a man teetering near the edge of an MBTA platform at Park Street station. As the individual crept closer to the end of the landing, swigging from a bottle of alcohol and screaming, he suddenly jumped toward the tracks below.

That’s when Conway, on duty at the time for a separate investigation at the busy transit hub, quickly reacted within a fraction of a second and grabbed the man by his arm in mid-air, bringing him to safety.

“I recognized something more than a disturbance going on. He wanted to go into the pit,” said Conway. “He struggled with me a little bit.”

The man, who reportedly was trying to take his own life, wasn’t in immediate danger of being hit by an oncoming train. Police said the next vehicle wasn’t scheduled to arrive for roughly four or more minutes. But the fall, the possibility of people not seeing him on the tracks, and the probability of him making contact with the third rail still put the man’s life in danger.

The dramatic rescue was all captured on one of the MBTA’s surveillance cameras, and uploaded to YouTube by officers on Thursday. Even after watching it—it shows just how instinctual the detective’s actions were —Conway remained humble about the incident.

“Things like this happen everyday, all over the world. Everyday, policemen, service men, firefighters, and first responders do stuff like this. This just happened to be caught on camera,” Conway said on Thursday, after meeting with reporters back at the scene where the alleged suicide attempt took place.

When asked what he thought about people calling him a “hero,” Conway remained stoic, and seemingly brushed off the title, chalking up his ability to help rescue the man to being exactly where he needed to be. “I was just lucky to be there,” he said, adding that he has never experienced something like this while on the job.

Although Conway deflected the praise from the general public after the video went online and people started to react to what he had done, the detective’s superiors tipped their collective hats to the 12-year Transit Police veteran, acknowledging his swift thinking in a time of crisis. “He was alert, he knew what was going to happen, and we are very proud of him,” said MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, calling his efforts “tremendous.”

Conway said he has since spoken with the man who tried jumping on the tracks, who thanked the detective for saving him from the fall.