A fearless woman who stood in the path of an oncoming train to save the life of a stranger has been remembered by her partner as a ‘beautiful soul’ who dreamed of starting a family after her death at 33.
Ashley Montabello was hailed a hero when she jumped on the train at Redfern station, near Sydney’s central business district, in April last year to save a 57-year-old man who had passed out and fallen off the platform.
Incredible footage showed the moment Ms Montabello, who was not publicly identified at the time, struggled to help the man as the train screeched towards her, coming to an abrupt stop. just inches from where she was.
No one was hurt during the ordeal and the unconscious man was taken to hospital where he made a quick recovery.
However, a family friend of Ms Montabello revealed last month that she died unexpectedly in February, less than a year after her heroic act.
On Sunday, his long-term partner Tommy Cloos, 60, told Daily Mail Australia that he was “a beautiful person who helps everyone in the community.”
“I was too young to go,” she said, her voice shaking.
Ashley Montabello’s last words to her partner Tommy Cloos were ‘I love you’. they are photographed together
The couple met 10 years ago, just after Ms Montabello moved from Cessnock, in the Hunter region of New South Wales, to Sydney at age 23.
They had planned to have children in the near future.
Her last words to him before she died in February were ‘I love you’.
“She said she wanted to marry me,” Cloos said.
Cloos wasn’t there the day Montabello saved the 57-year-old woman’s life at Redfern Station, but she wasn’t surprised to hear what he did.
“He was on his way to Wolli Creek with a friend when he saw it collapse,” he said.
‘That was his instinct: he loved helping people and he didn’t worry about anything.
He would give you his left arm if he thought you needed it.
Cloos said that she should have been rewarded for her bravery.
“She had more balls than grace, and she had more balls than a lot of guys,” he said.
Ashley Montabello risked her life to save a man who collapsed on the train tracks in Redfern (pictured, scenes from Redfern in Sydney)
Mrs. Montabello and Mr. Cloos dreamed of starting a family. They are pictured with the son of a close family friend.
He was increasingly concerned about Ms. Montabello’s battle with drug addiction, which began in part as a coping mechanism to deal with the fact that she was sexually abused as a child.
His relationship with his parents slowly disintegrated, and he finally cut ties with them when he moved to Sydney.
Cloos said it often went away when she was in the middle of a relapse, but he knew something was wrong when she disappeared in February of this year.
“At the time she wanted people to get her (drugs), and then I got worried when she was gone for a few days,” he said.
I investigated and then the police found her in bed, dead.
The medical examiner will determine the official cause of death, but Mr Cloos believes that he died from a ‘hotshot’, a potent mixture of heroin and fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is sometimes used to cut other recreational drugs, such as cocaine and MDMA, and is responsible for thousands of drug-related deaths around the world.
“It’s hard to talk about it,” Cloos said. ‘She was such a beautiful person.’
Ms. Montabello (pictured) has been remembered as a “beautiful soul” by her friends and partner.
The couple’s hairdresser, Brian, said Ms Montabello’s death shocked everyone in her community.
“There are heroes who walk among us every day,” he said.
‘You don’t know if the person sitting next to you is the person who is going to save your life, but that was Ashley.
“She was such a beautiful, sweet, happy and friendly person and she welcomed everyone.”
Mrs Montabello will be buried in Liverpool on Wednesday.
Following the Redfern incident last year, a The Sydney traveler who filmed the incident told Daily Mail Australia at the time that he was thankful the injured man did not die.
“It was a heartbreaking experience,” he said.
‘I wasn’t sure what to do myself… I didn’t know what was going to happen.’
“People were screaming as the train approached, I heard it on the loudspeaker, so I feared the worst.
He said the victim was a “big man” and recalled that it took about six people to help him off the tracks once the vehicle came to a stop.
“It was all very confronting and reminded me of the importance of keeping a safe distance on the platform at all times,” he said.
Station staff desperately tried to flag the conductor and urgently waved red flags before the train slammed to a halt.
Mrs. Montabello was the only person who remained on the tracks, along with the injured man. The train stopped a few millimeters from where they were.
Police and emergency services arrived shortly after the miraculous escape of the man and woman and helped the elderly man back onto the platform and took him for treatment.