Wesley Autrey stands with his two daughters at the subway stop in New York where he saved the life of a teenager who fell onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train on Tuesday. ((Newsday/Nick Brooks/Associated Press))

A 51-year-old man is being called a hero after covering a teenagerwho fell onto subway tracks in New York as a train passed over them.

Witnesses and officials said Wesley Autreyjumped onto the tracks afterCameron Hollowpeter, 18, suffered a seizure and collapsed Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan. He fell off the platform onto thethe subway tracks a few metres below.

Autrey, who was waiting on the train platform with his two daughters, jumped onto the southboundsubway tracks where Hollowpeter had fallen.

When he couldn't get him off the tracks as a train approached, he covered the teenager in a space between the rails while two of the train cars passed over them.

"I just chose to dive on top of him and pin him down and pin myself down," said Autrey, a Vietnam war veteran.

The driver saw them and applied the emergency brakes. Police said neither man was hit by the train.

Hollowpeter is in stable condition at a New York hospital, said police. Autrey suffered minor injuries from the jump.

With files from the Associated Press