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Woman Injured After Falling Onto SEPTA Tracks In South Philadelphia

By Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A woman was hospitalized in serious condition after falling onto the SEPTA tracks in South Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The woman, who can be seen in video wearing tan pants and seemingly unsteady on her feet, reportedly fell down onto the third rail at the Ellsworth-Federal Station along the Broad Street Line around 1:15 p.m.

Amazingly, the victim was responsive, despite having more than 600 volts of electricity come into contact with her body.

SEPTA's police chief says he cannot emphasize enough how dangerous it can be on a subway platform if you do not pay attention.

"Not too many people live after coming in contact with the third rail," says Chief Tom Nestel. "She's lucky."

Commuter Francine Johnson witnessed the whole incident. She says the woman leaned over a few times before falling onto the tracks.

"She was laying there for maybe a minute or so, and just like, shaking," she says.

Johnson was also among the many bystanders on the platform who went for help.

"Everybody on that platform either ran to help or ran up to the cashier to notify SEPTA of what was occurring," Chief Nestel says.

SEPTA officials are also commending the first responders. The victim fell at 1:18 p.m., emergency personnel had her on a stretcher and on her way to Jefferson University Hospital at 1:34 -- just 16 minutes later.

"People have to be aware of what they're doing in our system," Chief Nestel says. "This is a tragedy when somebody doesn't pay attention."

The victim's name isn't being released, but she is reportedly from South Philadelphia.

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