Hong Kong MTR

Elderly woman falls through Hong Kong MTR platform gap, gets rescued by passers-by and station staff

A frantic call for help at Lo Wu on Monday, followed by others to boost safety

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 2:24pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 10:50pm

An elderly woman had the shock of her life when she stepped out of a train at an MTR station in Hong Kong and plunged to the track, reigniting calls for the rail operator to look urgently at safety measures at platform gaps.

A witness said when he exited the train in question, after it arrived at Lo Wu station on Monday, he heard a cleaning employee yelling for help.

“The cleaner was yelling for help because an elderly woman fell through the track when she stepped out of the train and missed the platform,” the witness, who asked only to be identified by his surname Zhang, said.

“I saw her lying down there and I immediately used my body to stop the train’s car door from closing and keep the train from leaving the platform,” he added.

Photos Zhang took showed a terrified elderly woman lying spread-eagle with her back on the track.

Zhang and other passengers called out to the woman, telling her not to move in case the train began moving over her.

An MTR staff member spotted her and called for help. Two other MTR employees came to the rescue within minutes.

“The gap was so wide the two MTR staff members were easily able to jump down to the track and push the woman back up to the platform,” Zhang said. “I was on the platform to pull her up.”

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Zhang said he notified Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan about the incident. He said the MTR should install platform gates along the East Rail Line as soon as possible to address a situation he considered a safety hazard.

Chiang expressed deep concern over the incident and said the elderly woman could have been run over if no passengers had been nearby to help her.

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She also said the case highlighted an urgent and widespread problem, echoing Zhang’s call for the MTR to install platform gates and that other measures needed to be taken so that the gaps would not be too wide.

Earlier MTR officials said automatic platform gates were being retrofitted on 53 platforms at 21 stations along the East Rail and Ma On Shan lines.