Jun 08, 2022

Search for brave strangers who leapt onto train tracks to rescue a man in wheelchair

CCTV shows Gary Stapleton on the platform of Jacana Station on April 16. (Department of Transport)

A woman is hoping to identify two men who rescued her father after he accidentally drove his electric wheelchair off the platform and fell onto the train tracks at Jacana station in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Gary Stapleton and his wife Sue had planned on heading out to feed the ducks in the suburb of Moonee Ponds when they arrived at Jacana station on April 16.

Both Gary and Sue require electric wheelchairs to remain mobile and the pair were grieving the recent and unexpected death of their grandson when things became chaotic.

Upon arriving at the train station, Gary accidentally veered his wheelchair to the right and tumbled off the platform and onto the train tracks while commuters and railway workers at Broadmeadows train station watching CCTV looked on in horror.

“He wasn’t concentrating, we had just lost our grandson, we couldn’t concentrate,” Sue told 9News.

Thankfully, two brave men quickly leapt onto the train tracks and lifted Gary safely back onto the platform as train staff alerted Metro Trains control and stopped all trains approaching the station.

With Gary now safe, other members of the public joined the gentleman who rescued Gary as they worked together to lift his heavy wheelchair back onto the platform.

In the wake of their ordeal, Sue thanked all of the brave commuters who assisted her husband and commented on the difficulties of navigating wheelchairs at train stations.

“I would just like to say thank you very much and I’m very grateful for what they did,” said Sue.

“The train stations are not built for wheelchairs. You have to be so careful when you go past the chairs because there is not really enough room on the platform,” she said. 

Gary and Sue’s daughter, Lisa, told 9News that she was hoping to speak to the strangers that came to her father’s aid, but she had no way of contacting them and hopes that they will get in touch.

General Manager of Safety Operations for Metro Trains Melbourne, Adrian Rowland, has also publicly thanked all those involved in Garry’s rescue.

“We thank the bystanders that were able to come to the aid of this man and help him back onto the platform,” he said.

“Safety is our number one priority and following the accident we stopped trains immediately to ensure the gentleman could be attended to safely.

If you or someone you know was involved in Gary’s rescue, please contact 9News reporter Emily McPherson at emcpherson@nine.com.au.

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  1. So l just curious, how much wider does a platform need to. be ? Glad he is ok tho. Could have ended do much wirse

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