David Ashworth is being hailed as a hero after sacrificing his life in an attempt to save a woman who fell on the rail tracks at a station in Chartham, near Canterbury, in the United Kingdom. The man was 74-years-old, but he didn’t hesitate to try.
According to an eyewitness, a woman who was on a bridge over the rail line suddenly jumped off, “landing right between the rails where she was lying parallel between them.”
Kent Online reports that the 74-years-old David Ashworth jumped onto the Chartham tracks to get the woman off.
The retiree formerly worked as an academic at the University of Kent in the 1960s, specializing in solid state electronics, according to the Canterbury Times.
The train driver evidently saw something was wrong and tried to stop, but it was too late.
The witness explained, “you could hear the driver was sounding the horn and the brakes of the train were squealing.”
Ashworth couldn’t get the woman, 38, off the tracks. He made a last ditch effort to get to the end of the platform, but he couldn’t make it in time.
David Ashworth reportedly died instantly when he was struck by the train in Chartham. The witness called the man a hero.
His family agrees. His two sons Jonathan and Richard expressed their pride and sorrow in a joint statement.
“We are very proud of our father’s actions in saving the life of a young lady and clearly devastated at the loss of his life in doing so. Our thoughts are with the young lady, her family, and the train driver and we would like to add that we request privacy at this difficult time.”
According to the Daily Mail, the woman didn’t die in the Chartham train accident, but sustained severe injuries. She was airlifted from the scene and taken to King’s College Hospital in London. She’s currently in serious but stable condition.
David Ashworth had reportedly been friends with the woman’s family for the past 30 years.
The British Transport Police say they are still investigating the scene to figure out exactly what happened, but they don’t believe there was anything suspicious.
Police spokesman spokesman Glyn Hellam explained, “Officers are now working to determine the exact circumstances of the incident which is currently being treated as unexplained and are calling on anyone with information to get in touch on 0800 405040, quoting log 183 of 16/6/15.”
The train was not scheduled to stop at the Chartham station, but remained stuck there for at least an hour with all the passengers forced to stay on board.
Stephanie Karpetas, 53, was on her way to London.
“The train stopped abruptly just past Chartham station. I heard the driver shout out in shock, but I didn’t really worry. Then everything was quiet. After a while, we didn’t move. I noticed lots of people were looking behind the level crossing and it became clear something had happened.”
The Chartham station was quickly filled with emergency workers, but for heroic retiree David Ashworth it was already too late.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]