NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For many, the images of two men rescuing a young girl from under a Bronx subway are hard to watch.
But to experience those moments: Unimaginable.
That’s why officials say the rescuers also need emotional support, reports CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.
It was a split-second decision that will stick with Jairo Torres forever.
“In that kind of situation nobody is strong,” he said. “It’s here in your mind every day.”
Torres climbed onto the subway tracks at the Kingsbridge Road station in the Bronx to save a 5-year-old girl who was pulled in front of an oncoming train by her father.
The heart-wrenching cell phone video has been seen around the world showing Torres coaxing the little girl out, then lifting her to safety.
“It’s very difficult to process now,” said Torres. “I think it will take time. You don’t want to see anybody jumping in front of the train.”
Torres witnessed the father’s death, so when first responders arrived to treat the little girl who survived, they also checked on Torres mental state.
“I tell you I feel good just because I’m saving the life of the baby,” he said. “But he touched my shoulder and said Jairo, you need help.”
Bronx Men Honored For Rescuing Girl From Subway
City officials say the tragedy opens up a conversation about what mental health programs are available to those who end up helping in emergencies but are not trained first responders like the FDNY and NYPD.
“There’s a hotline, there are different organizations, people can call their elected officials offices depending on where they live,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Some trains have the button you can press, the button to call if you’re suffering from depression or having some thoughts in your mind about jumping in front of the tracks.”
Transit officials say last year alone, 189 people were hit by subways trains, and 68 of them died.
The MTA says to help staff members who have had to respond, they have 70 non-denominational chaplains who offer counseling.
Torres says it will take him some time before he’s ready to take the train from the Kingsbridge Road station.
He is focused on his recovery, but mainly the 5-year-old girl’s.
The father’s funeral is on Friday
For help with crisis counseling, mental support and more, people can reach NYC Well by calling 1-888-692-9355 or visit the NYC Well page on NYC.gov online.