A valiant group of teenagers have been hailed heroes after they saved a suicidal man from jumping under a train.
The six friends heroically threw themselves on top of the 18-year-old when he tried to jump under an approaching train and pulled him back from the tracks.
They had been waiting for a train at Herne Bay train station in Kent when they spotted the young man standing close to the platform’s edge on the opposite side of the tracks.
Realising he was in distress, the teens rushed to his aid and stopped him from stepping in front of the train at around 9pm on Saturday.
The young man’s mum has since thanked the group after they leapt into action.
She said: “Thank God they were there. They saved his life.”
Among the teenagers was Madison Kendall, 15, Eleanor Wood, 15, Tia Hancock, 16, Chloe Skinsley, 16, Jack Williams, 17 and Kyle Pattison, 17.
Recalling the incident, Kyle said: “I saw him standing by the line and something wasn’t right.
“Then one of the girls said ‘he’s crying’ so we just dropped everything and ran down the stairs.
“We ran through the underpass, up the other stairs, and pulled him away from the edge.”
But as the friends tried speaking to the young man, a train approached and he tried to jump into its path.
All six teens threw themselves on the man, fighting to restrain him until the train had passed.
Pal Jack added: “The boy was bigger than me and Kyle. We used all our strength to hold him.”
A number of adults were also on the platform at the time, but “just watched it all unfold” without stepping in, say the young pals.
Chloe said: “We were all struggling to hold him back. They were just sitting there.”
Elaina O’Brien, 31, who works within the station grounds, was deeply moved by the group’s bravery.
She had been in her office at Abacus taxi firm when she heard the commotion and rushed outside.
Elaina said: “There was this boy right at the edge of the platform.
“The train was coming and I just saw this group of teenagers all run and jump on this kid and they were pulling him back.
“You could tell the kids were really shaken. They looked really frightened.
“I ran over and grabbed him as well. It was horrible.”
She added: “For a group of teenagers to come forth and do that, it can’t go unnoticed. It was really quick thinking.
“If it wasn’t for their immediate reaction and courage, then that young boy would no longer be here.
“There is so much bad stigma around these days about teenagers but if it wasn’t for these ones a life would have been lost.”
Keen to see the group recognised for their actions, Elaina took to Facebook to praise them and they have been heralded as heroes.
The young man’s mum has expressed her heartfelt gratitude to both the teenagers and Abacus staff who helped her son who is seeking help for ongoing mental health problems.
She said: “We’re immensely thankful to the young people that were there.
“Thank God they were there, they saved his life.”
She added: “He’s just thankful he is still here, and very regretful and thankful for the teens and the taxi people in the office.”
Elaina and an Abacus driver sat with the young man in their office for some time after the incident.
Miss O’Brien rang 999 at around 9pm but was concerned when police took more than an hour to respond to her call.
British Transport Police (BTP) did not arrive at the scene until 10.17pm, by which time the young man and his mum had left after having waited for some time.
Elaina said: “It could have been so different. He could have been fighting me to get out of the office.”
A BTP spokesman said: “The man was safely in the taxi office at the time of the report and the nearest available BTP unit was dispatched.
“But due to the heavy winds and rain, the journey took longer than it would usually.
“Officers arrived at the station as quickly as they were able to get there safely and made contact with the man’s family who had picked him up earlier.
“An intelligence report into the incident was submitted.”
Elaina hopes the incident will highlight the importance of stepping in if someone appears distressed, particularly at a train station.
She added: “Especially because of the times that we’re living in.
“It takes two minutes out of your day, and can make all the difference in the world.”