Ava Harlow loses part of leg after getting hit by train

A 20-year-old college student fractured her skull and had a part of her leg amputated below the knee after she lost her footing and ended up trapped underneath a moving train in Boston.

Ava Harlow, from Amesbury, has been undergoing treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital since the night of the accident more than a week ago, loved ones wrote on a GoFundmePage.

According to officials with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) police, at around 11:30 p.m. Jan. 27, Harlow got off a Green Line train at the BU Central Station in Boston with a group of friends, but then she realized that a few other companions remained on the train, reported the Boston Globe.

Harlow knocked on the window to signal for her pals to get off the train and took a step in the direction in which the train was moving.

Ava Harlow, 20, from Massachusetts.
Ava Harlow, 20, is recovering after losing a part of her leg, suffering a crushed skull and pelvis, a broken arm and injuries to her face after she got trapped beneath a train.
Facebook / Ava Harlow

Firefighters are seen working to extricate Ava Harlow.
Harlow was dragged by a Green Line train departing the BU Central Station in Boston on Jan. 27 after losing her footing on the platform.
Boston Fire Deparment

At that moment, Harlow somehow slipped and fell under the train, which dragged her.

Specially trained firefighters were summoned to rescue the Bridgewater State University student. EMS, Boston police and MBTA police also responded.

Harlow’s father, Andrew Harlow, recalled getting “the dreaded 3 a.m. phone call that no parent wants to receive” informing him that his daughter had been struck by a train.

The dad tearfully told CBS Bostont that his daughter had to be resuscitated twice before she was brought to an ICU and intubated.

BU Central Green Line Trolley stop on January 30, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Police said Harlow slipped and fell while knocking on a train window to draw her friends’ attention.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Andrew Harlow, Ava's dad.
Andrew Harlow, Ava’s dad, recalled getting a phone call at 3 a.m. saying that his daughter had been hit by a train.

Ava lost a part of one leg and broke the other. She also suffered a fractured skull, a crushed pelvis, a broken arm and cuts to her face requiring stitches, according to her father.

But despite the laundry list of injuries, Andrew Harlow said, Ava is filled with gratitude toward the firefighters and paramedics who helped save her life.

“The first thing she mentioned after she was extubated was the guys,” he said, adding that he would like to thank the first responders who tied his daughter’s tourniquet and revived her.

Ava had to be resuscitated twice and then intubated at a hospital ICU.
Ava had to be resuscitated twice and then intubated at a hospital ICU.

Separately, Andrew told the Boston Herald that he blames the MBTA for the accident and has retained an attorney.

“He could have [seen] that she was banging on the friggin’ side of the car and not pulled away,” the parent said, seemingly referring to the train operator. “They have mirrors. They have horns. They’re supposed to toot the horn before they take off.”

The MBTA said the accident “does not appear to be the result of any mechanical or MBTA employee failure,” the Daily News of Newburyport reported.

Meanwhile, a group of family friends calling themselves Ava’s “aunties” have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with her medical bills and living expenses.

Ava Harlow and Andrew Harlow
Dad Andrew, right, said his daughter is grateful to the first responders who saved her life.

Ava Harlow with her parents.
Ava, pictured with her parents, graduated from Amesbury High School, where she was a star basketball and field hockey player.


Ava Harlow with her black cat
The 20-year-old is a college junior studying criminal justice.

Ava Harlow with friends
Friends are raising money to help Ava with her medical and living expenses.


“She’s hardworking, smart, funny, and has a big heart,” the organizers wrote in the description of the online fundraiser, which so far has drawn more than $41,000 in donations.

A second GoFundMe page that was started by Ava’s high school friends has raised more than $42,000 as of Tuesday.

“Her parents, Jamie and Andrew, have to watch their only daughter go through this and we want to help make this awful situation a little better in any way possible,” Ava’s childhood pals wrote. 

Harlow graduated in 2021 from Amesbury High School, where she was a standout basketball and field hockey player. She is enrolled as a junior at Bridgewater State University, where she studies criminal justice.   

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