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Austrian Student Survives Shove Under Train

May 16, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ An Austrian student was shoved from a subway platform into the path of an oncoming train by an unknown assailant Tuesday morning, but she escaped death when the train passed right over her without hitting her.

″If you can be lucky and unlucky at the same time, this woman was,″ said Al O’Leary, a Transit Authority police spokesman.

Christa Neumann-Spallart, 26, of Vienna, Austria, was in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital Center with a broken right leg, a fractured right ankle and a possibly fractured pelvis, said hospital spokeswoman Daphne Prior.

She underwent surgery on the right leg Tuesday afternoon but Prior said no further information was available.

The woman, a second-semester freshman at New York City Technical College in Brooklyn, had been out with friends Monday evening and was on her way alone to another friend’s home, O’Leary said.

About 2:30 a.m., she realized she had missed her stop and got off to catch a different train. A man she saw but hadn’t paid much attention to was sitting on a bench as the train came in, O’Leary said.

″He jumped out and pushed her. She fell on the platform first, then tumbled onto the track area,″ O’Leary said.

She wound up in the trough between the running rails. The motorman saw the unidentified man push the woman and braked the train. Part of the first car passed over her but did not hit her.

Neumann-Spallart crawled out from underneath and was taken to the hospital.

″The combination of the clearance at the center of the train and the depression, the trough, those two factors worked together in saving this woman’s life,″ O’Leary said.

Police are working ″full bore″ on trying to track down the suspect, O’Leary said.

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