What to Know
- 5-year-old girl who miraculously survived after her dad jumped onto the subway tracks in NYC while holding onto her, toured NYPD
- NYPD Chief Patrol Rodney Harrison tweeted a photo standing alongside a beaming Ferni Balbuena who was decked out in an NYPD uniform
- Ferni was rescued last month after her father jumped onto the subway tracks during the morning rush while holding onto her; Her father died
The 5-year-old girl who miraculously survived after her father jumped onto the subway tracks in the Bronx while holding onto her, toured the NYPD Friday -- spending a custom-tailored day with those in blue.
NYPD Chief Patrol Rodney Harrison tweeted a photo standing alongside a beaming Ferni Balbuena – who was decked out in an NYPD uniform of her own. The youngster participated in the NYPD HOPE program, according to the tweet.
The outreach program strives to make a difference in the lives of children across the City of New York who are facing obstacles.
Today is Ferni Balbuena’s #NYPD Hope Trip. Ferni was rescued unharmed last month after her father jumped onto the tracks with her. She found a few minutes to stop by my office before heading over to the Mounted Unit. pic.twitter.com/lDPV8rnZd7— Chief Rodney Harrison (@NYPDChiefPatrol) November 15, 2019
Those unfamiliar with Ferni’s story would have never guessed that the pint-sized police-for-a-day, seen smiling from ear-to-ear alongside Harrison, is the same girl who was rescued late September after her father jumped onto the subway tracks during the morning rush while holding onto her. Although her father ended up killing himself, the child survived and only sustained minor physical injuries, police said at the time.
According to police, the man had the girl cradled in one arm when he jumped in front of the train as it rounded a curve and slowed at the Kingsbridge Road station just before 8 a.m. The man, who was later identified as Fernando Balbuena, was killed by the Manhattan-bound train — but the girl lived, getting trapped underneath.
With the help of two strangers, the little girl crawled her way to safety. One of the good Samaritans said the girl was calling out for her father the whole time.
"’Papa, Papa, Papa,’ that's it. She didn't say anything else," said Antonio Love, who went down onto the tracks with another man to help the child.
She was rushed to the hospital afterward, but after only minor injuries were found the girl was brought home by her godfather to her mother, who expressed gratitude to those who helped her daughter.
"My baby is in perfect condition, thank God ... to the angels who protected her," Niurka Caraballo said in Spanish hours after the ordeal.
The two men who helped the little girl had minor injuries and were taken to a hospital, fire officials said at the time. Cellphone video from a witness showed the two bystanders leap into action, pulling the girl from the tracks and handing her back up the platform to safety.
Those who knew the little girl's father previously said he was not suicidal as far as they could tell and saw him as a good father.
"This is a tragedy and our thoughts are with the family members as well as with our train operator — this is a traumatic event for everyone involved," MTA spokesman Shams Tarek said in a statement at the time.
Following the tragedy, the NYPD officers brought toys and food for the 5-year-old as she rested at home with her family, recovering from a horrific day in which she saw her father killed.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting 'Home' to 741741.