A passenger who fell to death in the gap between the platform and the subway car and was then hit by another train was not helped because the station was deserted due to the pandemic.
Although the accident occurred shortly after 10 a.m. in a normally crowded Waterloo station, the calls for help from Jama Mohamed Warsame went through without assistance as the lockdown meant there were no other commuters on the platform.
The 59-year-old was getting off a London Underground at Waterloo Station when he slipped and was trapped as the train exited the platform.
When the train pulled away with Mr. Warsame still in the gap, it was crushed as it drove off.
He remained motionless on the track and was then hit by a second train that pulled into the station just 85 seconds later.
When the accident on the Bakerloo Line occurred shortly after 10 a.m. on May 26, there were no staff or other people nearby to help the fallen passenger.
With only head and arm above the platform level, the passenger was difficult to see on the monitors due to the track curve and was not discovered by the train driver, who uses video surveillance to check whether it is safe to leave the station.
The train driver of the following train did not notice the passenger either, as her attention was focused on the platform and the train stop until the train hit Mr. Warsame.
On the northbound route where the passenger fell, there is a large gap between the train and the platform when the track curves.
An investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found that the Transport for London (TfL) risk assessment process did not assess all platform-related hazards and made three formal recommendations for improvement.
In a report released today, investigators highlighted the impact of lockdown restrictions at the time of the fatal accident as the pandemic resulted in fewer people going to work.
The author of the report says, “The passenger became unstable on his feet and, after entering the rear double doors of Car 4, stumbled and fell backwards, right into the gap near the center of that car.
“A few seconds after falling into the gap, the passenger tried to get out and waving his arms to draw attention to his difficulty. It is also possible that he called (the transmitter monitoring does not record the sound).
“His efforts were unsuccessful and he was left with only his head and arms above the level of the platform.
“After fighting 55 seconds, he is [Mr Warsame] put one arm over the white line on the edge of the platform and remained almost motionless in this position until the train departed 20 seconds later.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, very few citizens were using the London Underground network at the time of the accident. When the passenger fell, nobody was on the platform and only two people used the platform after he fell. “
Two passengers who went onto the platform shortly after Mr Warsame’s fall did not see him on the tracks, but a woman on the phone closer to his fall spotted him and tried to get the driver’s attention but could not in time intervene.
She ran down the platform and reached the driver’s cab, who stopped to sound the alarm.
An autopsy found that Mr Warsame was four and a half times above the maximum allowable drink-driving limit at the time, and this could have left him unsteady when he got out of the carriage.
He also had pre-existing mobility problems from previous leg injuries, the report said.
It said: “The toxicology report after death showed a blood alcohol concentration of 360 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. This blood alcohol concentration is 4.5 times the UK legal limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.
“This concentration would create a heavy high in the average social drinker, most of which would experience side effects such as lack of coordination and impaired judgment.”
Another passenger was also killed after falling into the gap on the platform on the Bakerloo line southbound in Waterloo in September 2015 after getting off the train and walking away before falling back into the gap.
An investigation found that 17 passengers had fallen into the gap since 2005 – most with minor injuries but one with serious injuries.
Following the most recent accident, the RAIB made three recommendations to the London Underground.
This included performing a risk assessment for every highly curved platform on the network and all other locations where passengers are considered to be particularly at risk due to the characteristics of the platform.
Measures were also recommended to stop falls through the gap, to narrow the gap and to use temporary bridges to help passengers overcome it, as well as to provide help with the detection of breakthroughs.
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