Passenger was crushed to death by Tube train after falling in the gap because no-one was around to hear his cries for help

By Daniel Smith

A passenger who was crushed to death when he fell in the gap between the platform and the Tube carriage and then hit by another train was not helped because the station was deserted due to the pandemic.

Despite the accident happening just after 10am in a normally packed Waterloo station, Jama Mohamed Warsame's pleas for help went unaided because lockdown meant there were no other commuters on the platform.

The 59-year-old was getting off a London Underground Tube at Waterloo station when he slipped and became trapped as the train left the platform.

As the train departed with Mr Warsame still stuck in the gap, he was crushed as it moved off.

He was left motionless on the track and then hit by a second train that entered the station just 85 seconds later.

When the accident happened on the Bakerloo line last May 26 just after 10am, there were no staff or other members of the public nearby to help the fallen passenger.

With only his head and arm above platform level, the passenger was difficult to see on the monitors due to the track curve and was not spotted by the train driver - who checks on CCTV if it is safe to leave the station.

The driver of the following train was also unaware of the passenger because her attention was focused on the platform and the train's stopping point, until after the train hit Mr Warsame.

On the northbound line where the passenger fell, there is a large gap between the train and the platform as the track curves.

An investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found Transport for London (TfL)'s risk assessment process did not evaluate all the hazards linked with platforms and made three formal recommendations for improvement.

In a report published today, investigators highlighted the impact of lockdown restrictions at time of the fatal accident as the pandemic meant fewer people were travelling to work.

The report author states: "The passenger became unstable on his feet and, after stepping from the rear double doorway of carriage 4, stumbled and fell backwards, directly into the gap near the mid-point of this carriage.

"A few seconds after falling into the gap, the passenger attempted to climb out and draw attention to his difficulty by waving his arms. It is also possible that he called out (sound is not recorded by the station CCTV).

"His efforts were unsuccessful and he remained in place with only his head and arms above the level of the platform.

"After struggling for 55 seconds he [Mr Warsame] rested an arm across the white line on the platform edge and remained almost motionless in this position until the train departed 20 seconds later.

"Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were very few members of the public using the London Underground network at the time of the accident. There was no-one on the platform when the passenger fell, and only two people used the platform after he fell."

Two passengers who walked onto the platform shortly after Mr Warsame fell did not see him on the tracks, but one woman who was on her phone nearer to where he fell spotted him and tried to get the attention of the driver but could not intervene in time.

She was running along the platform and reached the train driver's cab as it came to a halt in a bid to raise the alarm.

A post-mortem discovered that Mr Warsame was four-and-a-half times over the legal drink driving limit at the time and this could have led to him becoming unsteady on his feet when alighting from the carriage.

He also had pre-existing mobility problems due to previous leg injuries, the report stated.

It read: "The post-mortem toxicology report recorded a blood alcohol concentration of 360 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. This blood alcohol concentration is 4.5 times the UK legal drink-drive limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

"This concentration would cause a high level of intoxication in the average social drinker, most of whom would experience adverse effects including a lack of co-ordination and impaired judgement."

Another passenger was also killed after falling in the gap on the southbound Bakerloo line platform at Waterloo in September 2015 after getting off the train and moving away before falling back into the gap.

An investigation found there had been 17 incidents of passengers falling into the gap since 2005 - most resulting in minor injuries, but with one causing a major injury.

Following the latest accident, the RAIB made three recommendations to London Underground.

These included carrying out a risk assessment of each tightly curved platform on the network and any other locations where passengers are considered to be at particularly high risk due to features of the platform.

Measures to stop falls through the gap, reduce the gap and help passengers clear it with temporary bridges, plus help to spot when people fall through, were also recommended.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.


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