Four young men who helped rescue nearly 100 people trapped in flooded rails cars Sunday in Guadalajara have been recognized for their efforts by the governor of Jalisco.
Aristóteles Sandoval Díaz commended the men and described them as “anonymous heroes” when he met them at the bar where they had been working when they went to the aid of stranded transit passengers.
The train was stationary at the Dermátologico station when heavy rains caused a massive flash flood, with water levels rising as high as four meters.
It was an employee at the nearby Salam Beach Bar who observed that passengers aboard the train needed help getting out.
“They’re drowning!” yelled Alicia Sandoval, grabbing the attention of the four young men, who ran from the bar, cleared the fence enclosing the station and headed for the floodwaters. There, they called out to observers for rope to rescue passengers, many of whom were in the deep water around the train.
But Sandoval had another idea. She grabbed surfboards and inflatable beach toys that formed the bar’s decor and they were passed along to the rescue team.
Interviewed shortly after, the four friends — who were joined by three other young men who came to help — described a chaotic and claustrophobic scene inside the rail cars. With the surfboards and flotation devices they helped the nervous passengers, crying children and seniors among them, to higher ground.
In one instance, a five-month-old baby was retrieved from the train by placing the chid on a floating backpack, making sure the child didn’t move during the process, Mauricio Covarrubias recounted, his clothes soaking wet.
He said the most desperate moment came when they felt an electrical shock upon touching the side of the train. “I said, ‘My god, perhaps this is where it ends, but just give me strength.'”
Half an hour later everyone had been removed from the cars and observers began to applaud the rescue.
#LluviaGDL Otra grabación más de la severa inundación que se vive en la línea 1 del Tren Ligero en el Dermatológico.
— JALISCO (@informador_JAL) June 11, 2018
The owner of the bar wasn’t too pleased upon seeing images on social media that showed people removing the decor from the walls of his establishment, apparently intending to play with them. He soon learned the truth and said later of the rescuers, “. . . they’re good guys.”
Three days later, the four were still receiving messages of gratitude on social media.