REDFERN, SYDNEY: The devastated boyfriend of a fearless woman, who risked her life and jumped into the path of a high-speed train to save an elderly man, remembered her as a “beautiful soul” after his tragic death at the age of 33. Ashley Montabello died unexpectedly in February – less than a year after the heroic deed, her family friend confirmed in a heartbreaking social media post.
Montabello received public acclaim in April 2022 when she jumped in front of a high-speed train to rescue a 57-year-old man who had collapsed and fallen from the platform at Redfern station near the central business district from Sydney. In the harrowing video of the miraculous escape, the commuter and another woman are seen jumping onto the track and trying to save the man as a train screams towards them. No one was injured in the incident and the elderly man was rushed to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital with head and wrist injuries.
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“She was too young to go”
Now Montabello’s longtime partner Tommy Cloos, 60, has described her as a “beautiful person who has helped everyone in the community”. “She was too young to go,” he told the Daily Mail, recalling her telling him before her death “I love you.” The couple first met a decade ago, shortly after Montabello, then 23, moved to Sydney from Cessnock in the Hunter District of New South Wales. “She said she wanted to marry me,” Cloos said, adding that they plan to have children in the near future.
Cloos was not present the day Montabello rescued the 57-year-old from Redfern Station. “She was on her way to Wolli Creek with a friend when she saw him collapse,” he said. “It was her instinct – she loved helping people and she didn’t care. She would give you her left arm if she thought you needed it.” Cloos thinks Montabello should have been honored for her bravery. “She had more balls than Grace, and she had more balls than a lot of guys,” he said.
How did Ashley Montabello die?
Cloos revealed that Montabello suffered from drug addiction, which she developed as a coping mechanism to cope with being sexually abused as a child. He said she used to disappear frequently in a relapse, but he grew concerned when she disappeared in February. “At that time, she had wanted people to catch her [drugs]and then I got worried when she was gone for a few days,” he said. “I did a search and the police found her in her bed, dead.” Montabello’s cause of death hasn’t been determined yet, but Cloos believes she died of a ‘hotshot’ – a very strong combination of heroin and fentanyl. “It’s hard to talk about it,” Cloos said. She was such a beautiful person.”