12/15/2013 11:23 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Ralph Mercado Survives Fall On New York City Subway Tracks By Lying Flat Between The Rails

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A 51-year-old man who fell on the New York City subway tracks reportedly made a split-second decision that saved his life. The New York Post reports Ralph Mercado fell onto the tracks at the Union Square station Saturday morning as a northbound R train approached.

“I heard screaming," witness Suzannah Troy told The Post. "[Mercado] was reaching out to the people reaching out to help him, but there wasn’t enough time to grab him."

That's when Mercado reportedly stepped into the middle of the tracks and laid flat on his stomach between the two rails. The R train rolled directly over him, and Mercado escaped only with a bruised hand.

Troy took a video of the effort to rescue Mercado from under the train:

It's unclear how Mercado ended up on the tracks. Although he told police he'd been trying to rescue a woman who'd fallen on the tracks, witnesses say there was no such woman. Mercado was taken to Bellevue Hospital for psychological evaluation.

Here's what to do if you have the misfortune of falling on the subway tracks in New York City.