NEW YORK (CNN) – A man and his seeing-eye dog are recovering after being run over by a subway train earlier this week.
His family is calling their story of survival a miracle.
One bystander said, “When the train came, I just screamed really loud because I didn’t really know what happened to him.”
Subway patrons were in a panic after 61-year-old Cecil Williams fell onto the subway tracks, right before a train pulled into the station.
Witnesses say the blind man was standing at the edge of the platform and began to sway.
His seeing-eye dog, Orlando, was pulling with all his might to get his owner further onto the platform.
Despite his efforts, Williams toppled backward onto the tracks.
One witness said, “He was all the way at the edge, backwards. And the dog was trying to pull him in and I tried to scream at him to come in because he was near the tracks. Then he fell.”
When Williams fell from the platform, Orlando went with him.
The dog began to frantically bark, begging for someone to help his comrade.
Before anyone had the chance to get onto the tracks, a subway train pulled into the station.
A subway patron said, “I yelled at him. I yelled at the man to stay down that the train was coming in.”
Orlando and Williams ducked their heads and got as close to the ground as possible as the train passed over them.
Fortunately, the subway conductor heard the cries for help and attempted to stop.
A few cars had passed over the pair as patrons held their breath, waiting to see if they had survived.
Amazingly, Williams suffered a few cuts and bruises but that was the extent of his injuries.
Orlando wasn’t hurt.
Capt. Daniel O’Sullivan, with the FDNY, said, “He was semi coherent. He asked us how his dog was doing. We told him that his dog was fine, that police officers had his dog.”
Williams says after getting onto the platform, he lost consciousness, causing him to fall onto the tracks.
He is recovering in a New York hospital, while his family and Orlando wait for him to come home.
While this ordeal has a happy ending, Williams says he has another battle ahead of him.
Orlando will turn 11-years-old on Jan. 5 and is scheduled to retire early next year.
However, Williams’ health insurance will not cover the cost of a non-working dog, so he could lose custody of the dog that saved his life.