A hero schoolboy helped save a woman who was lying across a railway track as a train approached.
Brave Ashley Noakes, 16, shouted at the woman to get out the way before holding her back as she tried to get in front of the train a second time.
The drama unfolded when the 27-year-old woman climbed the barriers at the crossing at South Farm Road, Worthing, shortly after 3.30pm.
To the horror of around 30 shocked schoolchildren and waiting cars, she then sprawled across the tracks as a train began to leave Worthing train station.
- Motorcyclist injured while trying to complete ice bucket challenge
- Man living in derelict pub: ‘I want to be king of the squatters’
- City is beacon of economic dynamism
- I had to move home because of Tourette’s
- Gatwick in two-horse race for expansion after Boris Island ruled out
Quick-thinking Mr Noakes, a pupil at Worthing High School, called for the distressed woman to get out the way – but his efforts were ignored.
He said: “She completely blanked me no matter how loud I asked her to come back over.
“The train on the platform was just leaving. My friend, who was on it, said it was going very slowly and kept honking its horn. I was completely and utterly shocked.
“I instantly pulled my phone out and called 999.”
A second man, who did not want to be named, then jumped the barriers and guided her to safety.
Mr Noakes added: “The man helped her towards the barriers where I was. She struggled but I grabbed her. She said nothing, she was just crying.
“After the barriers went up we took her over to the side of the crossing and she tried to get away again onto the tracks. But I was standing trackside and held her so she couldn't.
“The man then took hold of her and held her until the police came.”
News of the rescue quickly reached social media and a picture showing the woman being restrained by the second man was viewed thousands of times in the space of a few hours. Asked what he thought of being labelled a hero, Mr Noakes said: “I think any decent member of society would have helped someone in need. I know he doesn’t want to be named but the other man deserves a lot of credit as well.”
The year 11 student returned to school yesterday to a hero’s welcome.
Karen Hayler, from the school, said: “We’re very proud of Ashley and what he’s done.
“He’s an excellent pupil and is a junior firefighter so he has experience in dealing with high-pressure incidents.
“We’re proud he took responsibility for something in the community and think he acted in a mature and responsible way.”