The 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency responders found her on the subway tracks

By Rachel DeSantis
April 22, 2019 10:37 AM
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Credit: GoFundMe

A 21-year-old aspiring actress was killed Saturday after she was hit by an oncoming train at a New York City subway stop.

Helen McDonald-Phalon was waiting for a downtown 6 train at the Union Square subway station around 3 a.m. when she was pulled under the moving train after getting caught between the car and the platform, according to the Wall Street Journal.

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE she was found unconscious and unresponsive with severe body trauma on the track floor.

Emergency medical services responded, but she was pronounced dead at the scene and an investigation is ongoing.

A medical examiner will determine her cause of death.

“This is a horrible and very uncommon incident, and is under investigation by both the MTA and NYPD,” a spokesperson with the MTA told PEOPLE in a statement.

The woman’s mother, Ann McDonald-Phalon, told the WSJ her daughter had moved to New York City from South Carolina to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress.

“She was an amazing, beautiful light, and I’m devastated,” Ann said.

McDonald-Phalon worked at the retail store ThinkGeek, which confirmed her death on Facebook Sunday.

“This Holiday weekend has brought with it some tragic news. This Saturday we lost one of our Lead Geeks, Helen McDonald-Phalon, to an unfortunate accident,” the store wrote in a post. “She was an amazing person to work with and simply a good-hearted individual. We have set up a GoFundMe in her name to support her family in this dark time.”

The GoFundMe page has since raised more than $4,500.

“Helen was a deeply caring, empathetic, and most of all humorous person,” the page reads. “A true beacon of joy and positivity to all those fortunate enough to know her, or know of her.”

The incident comes two months after a 39-year-old man was killed after he was dragged 20 feet into a subway tunnel by a train at Grand Central station in New York, according to the New York Daily News.