Published: 14:15, 27 October 2020
| Updated: 18:33, 27 October 2020
A group of teenagers have been hailed as "heroes" after saving the life of a suicidal young man at a railway station.
The six friends had been waiting for a train in Herne Bay at about 9pm on Saturday, when they noticed an 18-year-old on the opposite side of the tracks, standing close to the platform's edge.
Realising he was in distress, the teens rushed to his aid, physically preventing him from stepping in front of a train.
The young man's mum has since thanked them, saying: "Thank God they were there - they saved his life."
Among the group was Kyle Pattison, 17, who recalls: "I saw him standing by the line - something wasn't right.
"Then one of the girls said 'he's crying', so we just dropped everything and ran down the stairs.
"We ran through the underpass, up the other stairs, and pulled him away from the edge."
But as they tried speaking to the young man, a train approached and he reportedly made a bid to jump into its path.
All six teens threw themselves on the 18-year-old, fighting to restrain him until the train had passed.
A number of adults were also on the platform at the time, but "just watched it all unfold" without stepping in, say the young friends.
Chloe Skinsley, 16, said: "We were all struggling to hold him back. They were just sitting there."
Jack Williams, 17, added: "The boy was bigger than me and Kyle. We used all our strength to hold him."
'I just saw this group of teenagers all run and jump on this kid...'
Elaina O'Brien, who works within the station grounds at taxi firm Abacus, was deeply moved by the group's bravery.
The 31-year-old had been in her office when she heard the commotion and rushed outside.
"There was this boy right at the edge of the platform," she recalled.
"The train was coming, and I just saw this group of teenagers all run and jump on this kid, and they were pulling him back.
"You could tell the kids were really shaken - they looked really frightened.
"I ran over and grabbed him as well. It was horrible.
"For a group of teenagers to come forth and do that, it can't go unnoticed," she added. "It was really quick thinking.
"If it wasn't for their immediate reaction and courage, then that young boy would no longer be here.
"There is so much bad stigma around these days about teenagers but if it wasn’t for these ones a life would have been lost."
Keen to see the group recognised but knowing just two of their names, Miss O'Brien took to Facebook to praise their actions.
Her post has gained hundreds of likes and messages of appreciation, in which the group have been heralded as "heroes".
One commenter wrote: "It takes bravery to care enough to get involved; to listen, act and help someone in distress."
"Thank you for stepping in," said another. "Many would just turn a blind eye."
KentOnline has since tracked down all six teens involved.
They are: Herne Bay High School pupils Madison Kendall and Eleanor Wood, both 15; Tia Hancock, 16, who attends Canterbury College; Chloe Skinsley, also 16, who attends Broadstairs College; and Jack Williams and Kyle Pattison, both 17-year-old Sheppey College students from Sheerness.
The young man's mum has expressed her heartfelt gratitude to both the teens, and the Abacus staff who helped her son.
'He's just thankful he's still here...'
"We're immensely thankful to the young people that were there," she said.
"Thank God they were there - they saved his life."
She added that her son is seeking help for ongoing mental health problems.
"He's just thankful he is still here, and very regretful," she said. "And thankful for the teens and the taxi people in the office."
Miss O'Brien and an Abacus driver sat with the young man in their office for some time after the incident.
Miss O'Brien rang 999 shortly before 9pm, but was concerned when police took more than an hour to respond to her call.
British Transport Police (BTP) did not arrive at the scene until 10.17pm, by which time the young man and his mum had left after having waited for some time.
"It could have been so different," said Miss O'Brien. "He could have been fighting me to get out of the office."
A BTP spokesman responded: "The man was safely in the taxi office at the time of the report, and the nearest available BTP unit was dispatched but due to the heavy winds and rain, the journey took longer than it would usually.
"Officers arrived at the station as quickly as they were able to get there safely, and made contact with the man’s family who had picked him up earlier.
"An intelligence report into the incident was submitted.”
Miss O'Brien says she hopes the incident will highlight the importance of stepping in if someone appears distressed, particularly at a train station.
"Especially because of the times that we're living in," she said. "It takes two minutes out of your day, and can make all the difference in the world."
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