Hero officer who pulled man from path of train: 'That's my job'

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Watch: Hero NJ cop rescues man from tracks barely ahead of train

A New Jersey transit officer is being hailed as a hero after he put his life on the line to pull a stranger off the tracks.

Victor Ortiz made a split-second decision after he saw a man laying on the tracks — and the headlights of a train quickly approaching.

"I was bracing for the worst, you know, but hoping for the best," he said in a report that aired on TODAY Monday. "In my mind I was like, this is not going to happen, not while I'm here. I'm going to do what I can to pull this guy through."

RELATED: Photos around the state of New Jersey

Around New Jersey
See Gallery
Around New Jersey
Downtown Newark, New Jersey. (Photo via Getty)
Women stroll on a bridge at Pier C Park in Hoboken, N.J. as clouds and fog blanket over the Hudson River and New York City in the background, Friday, April 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
This aerial photo shows MetLife Stadium, top left, during the State Fair Meadowlands, Sunday, July 1, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The carnival began June 22 and runs through July 8. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A United Airlines employee walks near a jet parked at Terminal C of Newark Liberty International Airport as the sun rises behind the New York City skyline, Friday, May 1, 2015, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
This July 11, 2014 aerial photo shows the Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, N.J. as seen from a pollution monitoring airplane operated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Since the federal Environmental Protection Agency ended its flights along the coast this year, the New Jersey DEP is the only agency that does aerial pollution checks along the Jersey shore. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
People walk through the old Casino building on the boardwalk early New Year's Day Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, in Asbury Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
People watch Silver Lining Playbook during Movies Under The Stars at Pier A Park, Wednesday, July 10, 2013, in Hoboken, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
This May 15, 2015 photo, beachgoers play volleyball on the sand in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. The Jersey Shore has made substantial progress recovering from Superstorm Sandy 2 1/2 years since the October 2012 storm, but as the third summer after the storm arrives, thousands of homes still have not been repaired. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
Rock star and philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi performs a new song during graduation ceremonies at Rutgers University-Camden Thursday, May 21, 2015, in Camden, N.J. The New Jersey native premiered a new song, "Reunion," which he said was a gift to the graduates. It began, "This isn't how the story ends, my friends, it's just a fork along the road." Bon Jovi and Bryan Stevenson, public interest lawyer and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, received honorary degrees. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A cyclist, right, rolls in front of the Empty Sky memorial as people stroll around the structure during sunset at Liberty State Park, Wednesday, June 5, 2013, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Fairgoers spin on a ride at the State Fair Meadowlands, Sunday, July 1, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The carnival began June 22 and runs through July 8. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Football fans tailgate in the rain outside MetLife Stadium before an NFL football game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
In this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 photograph people relax and play in the ocean in Atlantic City, N.J. Good weather and greater awareness that the Jersey shore has made huge strides in recovering from Superstorm Sandy helped make the second summer after the storm better than the first one, many shore merchants and elected officials say. Some business owners report profits up 20 to 30 percent in the summer of 2014 compared with 2013, when the shore was still in the early stages of recovering from the devastating Oct. 29, 2012, storm. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A couple walks along a dune near the ocean in Atlantic City, N.J., Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
HOBOKEN, NJ - JANUARY 27: Austin Cawley-Edwards a freshman, and member of the Stevens Institute of Technology Ski and Snowboard team does a jump with the aid of a bungee, on campus after a major winter storm on January 27, 2015 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Snow levels from winter storm Juno in New York has ranged from 7.8 inches in Central Park to more than 28 inches in Eastern Long Island. (Photo by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images)
The moon rises as people sit on rides at the State Fair Meadowlands, Wednesday, July 1, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. The fair closes on Sunday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A bride, center, walks near the jetty at the Manasquan Inlet, Saturday, June 1, 2013, in Manasquan, N.J. New Jersey is experiencing warm climate with people heading toward the shore as the hurricane season began Saturday. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Men fish near the Barnegat Lighthouse Tuesday, April 30, 2013, on Long Beach Island, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Video footage of the daring rescue shows Ortiz struggled with the man, who was significantly larger and didn't want to budge. But Ortiz somehow found the strength to pull him off the tracks, with only a second or two to spare.

Ortiz is now being hailed as a hero. But the officer said he hopes others would have done the same.

"Had I just stood there and done nothing, again, I wouldn't be able to bear that thought in my mind," he said.

Ortiz said the man on the tracks later apologized and thanked him.

"He goes, 'I didn't mean to do what I did,' and I told him at that point, well, that's my job," he said. "My job is to protect and serve."

Ortiz currently is on a well-deserved (and pre-planned) vacation.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

People are Reading