Alexander N. Patitsas, 44, switchman, saved Joseph Hamernik, 56, burner, from being killed by a train, Gary, Indiana, October 11, 1965. In a noisy slab mill at a steel plant, Hamernik stepped onto a railroad track and began walking between the rails unaware that a locomotive pushing 21 cars was approaching from behind at two to three m.p.h. Patitsas shouted a warning to Hamernik, who did not hear him. The nearest car then was within 20 feet of Hamernik. Patitsas ran 15 feet, veering into the path of the train, and reached Hamernik between the rails when the car was within six feet of them. Patitsas struck Hamernik with his body, intending to knock him off the track and to fall clear of it himself. Hamernik fell forward between the rails, while Patitsas fell with most of his body beyond the track but with his legs across one rail. Seven cars ran over the legs of Patitsas before the train stopped. The cars passed above Hamernik, and some of their underparts struck him. He suffered a severe head laceration but recovered after hospitalization. Patitsas lost both legs. He was hospitalized and later learned to walk with artificial legs.
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