Your Song Rita Ora
17 June 2015, 13:54
The family of a retired academic have spoken of their pride after he was killed saving the life of a woman who had leapt onto a railway line.
Relatives of 74-year-old David Ashworth said they were "devastated'' but "very proud'' of him for saving the 38-year-old woman's life.
Mr Ashworth died after being struck near Chartham railway station in Kent at around 11am yesterday, British Transport Police (BTP) said.
In a statement, his family said: "We are very proud of our father's actions in saving the life of a young lady and clearly devastated at the loss of his life in doing so.
"Our thoughts are with the young lady, her family, and the train driver and we would like to add that we request privacy at this difficult time.''
The tragedy happened after Mr Ashworth jumped onto the tracks after the woman, from Canterbury, reportedly leapt from a bridge. However, she survived and he died after being hit by the Ramsgate to Charing Cross service.
Witness Michael Kember, 44, described Mr Ashworth as a "hero'' as he said the train driver could have done nothing to avert the tragedy.
Mr Kember, who was waiting on a platform for another train, told Kent Online: "The lady had been on the bridge over the line and then jumped off it, landing right between the rails where she was lying parallel between them.
"The man then jumped down and was trying to get her off. While he was doing that you could hear the electric rail buzzing, meaning that the train was coming.
"You could hear the driver was sounding the horn and the brakes of the train were squealing.
"The man couldn't get her off and he was then trying to get to the end of the platform but did not make it, and that was when the accident happened.