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Marine vet, who lost both legs in Taliban attack, rushes to save baby in NYC car crash

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Matias Ferreira
Retired Marine Lance Cpls. Matias Ferreira (left) and Josh Wege (center), both bilateral below-knee amputees and members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. Photo by Sgt. Reece Lodder

Matias Ferreira, a Marine who lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, sprinted into action Wednesday to save a baby from a smoking car.

Ferreira, who lives on Long Island and is getting married Friday, couldn’t ignore the screams of a frantic mother trapped in the driver’s seat of her car, after she hit a pole on Cross Bay Blvd. in Queens.

Risking his own health and safety, Ferreira says his instincts just kicked in.

“With the Marines, you are taught to be prepared and act,” said Ferreira, who was leaving his wedding rehearsal at a nearby church when he heard the crash behind him.

“We didn’t know if the car was on fire or anything else… We knew we had to get them to safety,” he said.

Ferreira says he thought of his own 11-month-old daughter, when he heard the frightened mother screaming, “My baby, My baby!”

He immediately jumped out of his pickup truck to help the victims. “It doesn’t have to be a Marine. It doesn’t have to be a firefighter. It just has to be someone with a good heart,” Ferreira said.

His brother and future father-in-law were right behind him. While they got the child’s parents out of the car, Ferreira tore off a headrest, squeezed into the backseat and freed the baby from her car seat, according to the NY Daily News.

“I didn’t hear the baby crying, so I got kind of concerned,” Ferreira said. “Then I saw her open her eyes, and it kind of reassured me she was doing better.” An FDNY spokesman said the infant was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

After Ferreira’s injury in January 2011, he began rehabilitation and started using an advanced pair of prostheses.  “The prostheses were the last thing on my mind,” Ferreira said of the rescue.

The 26-year-old Marine vet recently began a five-year apprenticeship– where he is learning to design, build and maintain mechanical operating systems in commercial, residential and industrial buildings.

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Matias Ferreira Marine
Matias Ferreira highlighted in a Cigna YouTube, screenshot of video.

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