Mumbai: Meet the unsung hero who saved girl falling from local train

Updated: Dec 24, 2018, 22:16 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

It took more than two months and hundreds of phone calls to identify the Good Samaritan whose rescue of the teen was captured in a viral video

Mumbai: Meet the unsung hero who saved girl falling from local train
Istakhar Ahmad

It took seconds for this quick-thinking commuter to yank a 17-year-old girl to safety after she fell off a running train. Videos of the miraculous rescue had gone viral on social media in October and, yet, no one knew his name. It was after more than two months of searching, and sifting through 600 phone calls, that this unsung hero's identity has finally been revealed - Istakhar Ahmad, 52, a resident of Govandi who works at a furniture shop in Chembur.

Less than a second
The viral video showed the girl leaning out from the footboard of a moving train. When a train passed by on the parallel track, she slipped and fell. One of the commuters, now identified as Ahmad, was standing near the door and managed to grab her hand and pull her to safety.

Istakhar Ahmad is among several rail heroes who will be felicitated by M-Indicator on Monday, Grabs from the viral video show how Ahmad (green shirt) pulled the girl (stripes) to safety after she slipped off the train
Istakhar Ahmad is among several rail heroes who will be felicitated by M-Indicator on Monday, Grabs from the viral video show how Ahmad (green shirt) pulled the girl (stripes) to safety after she slipped off the train

"It was in less than a second that my hand reached out to hers, pulling her up. It all happened unimaginably fast. I am happy she is alive," recalled Ahmad. He was travelling from Matunga to Mulund when the 17-year-old boarded the train near Kurla. "She was leaning out, listening to music on her earphones. Near Vidyavihar, I warned her that this was dangerous, but she told me she had been doing this since childhood and that I should mind my own business. A little later, she slipped and I extended my hand to her and pulled her up. It happened very fast," added Ahmad.

Viral video: Girl slips off Mumbai local train, saved in nick of time

Istakhar Ahmad is among several rail heroes who will be felicitated by M-Indicator on Monday, Grabs from the viral video show how Ahmad (green shirt) pulled the girl (stripes) to safety after she slipped off the train

How they found him
He was identified through M-Indicator, the city's popular local train app. The app founders had wanted to award the rail hero, but he was nowhere to be found, not even in the police records of the incident.

"It was like a wild goose chase. No one knew him, neither was his name found anywhere. We had been searching for him for over a month. M-Indicator sent notifications to users to identify him, and we got 600 calls. We found that one particular number was repeated four times. We called on that number December 21, and Ahmad picked up and said he was the one who had saved the girl," said Sachin Teke, founder of the app.

The M-Indicator team then verified his details and felicitated him with a bouquet. Ahmad is also among the 34 unsung heroes, who have saved rail commuters' lives, who will be felicitated by M-Indicator on Monday afternoon. Like him, some of the heroes are regular commuters, while others are staffers from the RPF, GRP and the railways.

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