Moments before Fernando Balbuena leapt in front of an oncoming New York City subway train with his 5-year-old daughter clutched in his arms, he delivered his final words to his wife, who was talking with him on the phone.
“With God, with God, with God, here comes the train,” Balbuena told his wife Niurka Caraballo in Spanish, according to the New York Post.
Then the Bronx father jumped onto the tracks at the Kingsbridge Road station Monday at around 8 a.m. as a southbound train was hurtling into the station to the horror of those who looked on.
Balbuena died, but miraculously his 5-year-old daughter, Ferni, survived and was rescued from beneath the train by those who had watched the tragedy unfold.
Jairo Torres told the New York Daily News he initially thought the young girl—who was still wearing her pink LOL Surprise backpack—had perished along with her suicidal father until he noticed her beginning to move beneath the train.
“She moved her hand (and) I said thank God she’s alive,” he said.
Torres and another good Samaritan, Antonyo Love, 32, pulled the girl to safety as she called out to her dead father, shouting “Papi, Papi.”
“I tried to go back and get the father but he was so far back, he didn’t respond,” Love said.
Somehow the young girl only suffered minor injuries from being clipped by the train as it approached.
“Medically, thank God, everything is fine — she doesn’t have any fractures,” her worried mother told the Daily News as she was leaving the hospital.
After the unusual phone call with her husband, Caraballo immediately felt something was wrong and ran to the train station—but her husband was already dead.
“She couldn’t understand what he was saying. It wasn’t coming through,” Luis Sanchez, the godfather of the couple’s son, told the New York Post. “But she got the feeling that something was very, very wrong.”
Caraballo said that her husband had struggled with depression but she never imagined he would have jumped in front of a train, calling him a “responsible” and “quiet” man.
“An angel,” she told The Daily News. “Loving with his children. A good father. Responsible. Really, I don’t know what happened.”
Caraballo said that while her daughter managed to escape the harrowing ordeal relatively unscathed physically, she is still trying to mentally process what happened and has continued to ask for her father.
“Ferni was very close to him,” Caraballo said. “After what happened, she is saying, ‘Daddy is in the hospital. He hurt his stomach.’’
While Caraballo acknowledges Ferni and her brother Fernand will now have to come to terms with their new reality, she believes it was a miracle her daughter survived.
“My daughter was reborn yesterday,” she said.
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