In the chaotic aftermath of the New Jersey Transit train crash on Thursday, a 29-year-old man tried to save the woman who died after she was struck by flying debris on the platform.
Jersey City resident Rahman Perkins said the decision to help the woman was just instinct, 34-year-old Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, and others, WABC reported.
As an exodus of people began to run away from the wreckage, Perkins ran in the opposite direction, toward it, saying he wanted to “help as many people” as he could since he is “healthy” and “strong.”
“There was a lot of screaming and commotion going on,” he said, adding that he wasn’t even sure what he’d find amid the rubble and the debris.
The first person he saw was a man who had a beam stuck on his leg, Perkins said. He enlisted the help of five other men to lift it off of him.
Then, Perkins spotted De Kroon, also with a beam on her leg. He and others moved the beam, and he stayed with her, trying to give her “as much attention” as he could, he said.
“I could tell she could hear me, but I was just telling her to…focus on her family,” he said, adding that he “didn’t even know” De Kroon had a daughter or a husband at the time.
As he comforted her, he tried to tell her that she would be “all right” and to “just fight.”
Perkins kept saying to her, “I am going to be here with you,” he said.
De Kroon was the only person who died as a result of the crash. She had just dropped her daughter, a toddler, off at daycare when she was waiting for the train. After the news broke that she had succumbed to her injuries, police officers told Perkins that he did all that he could, he said.
Perkins has been in touch with De Kroon’s husband since her death, giving him the details of his wife’s final moments and telling him that he wishes he could have prevented her death.
More than 100 people were injured as a result of the crash. In a press conference Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo applauded the efforts of Good Samaritans like Perkins, who helped first responders evacuate the injured from the scene.