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Teen trapped in train doors loses half a leg

The Local · 3 Aug 2012, 15:26

Published: 03 Aug 2012 15:26 GMT+02:00

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The 19-year-old was saying goodbye to friends at a suburban train station on Tuesday evening when he tried to jump onto the train at the last minute. But he only managed to get his arm in – and it was trapped by the closing doors.

The train set off, dragging him along the platform until he hit a barrier and was thrown onto the tracks. Witnesses stayed with him until the emergency services arrived the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Friday.

He was taken to hospital with severe injuries to his head, legs and arms. Doctors took him to the intensive care until where he was put in an artificial coma. It was confirmed on Friday that surgeons had amputated the lower part of one of his legs.

The doors on an S-Bahn are not supposed to shut if there is an obstruction, and the train should not move if the doors are open. But although this was plainly not the case here, the S-Bahn operators said on Friday there was no technical defect, and that the train was being used again, the paper said.

Burkhard Ahlert, spokesman at Deutsche Bahn – the company which operates the S-Bahn network – said that there were a number of different procedures for controlling the doors, depending on the size of a station.

For un-staffed stations like the one where the accident happened, there is supposedly a mechanism which stops an obstructed door from closing, he said.

There are also, according to the Berliner Zeitung no video cameras at the station which could make it more difficult to find out what happened.

Story continues below…

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:22 August 3, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
Quote: "......the S-Bahn operators said on Friday there was no technical defect, and that the train was being used again, the paper said".

There obviously was a defect if this event occured.
16:23 August 3, 2012 by Zobirdie
I have had a few shut on me... one as I was dashing in at a manned stop. Also seen one close on someone's backpack.

Now admittedly, my bad for my own incidences... but you would think if the doors sense an obstruction that they would open back up again. That just seems like standard safety to me...
16:50 August 3, 2012 by zeddriver
I would say a law suit is in order. And deservedly so. Does the driver have mirrors? S-bahn deserves to take one in the shorts for this.
18:11 August 3, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Lawsuits for negligence don't get you far in Germany. That is why safety is not so much of a concern. Look at how many accidents happen with trains in Germany. People getting trapped in trains on extremely hot days with the air condition clapped out has happened in recent years also. Passengers taken to hospital unconscious. All they got was a "goodwill" gesture from DB of a couple hundred euros. I have often seen these doors close on people and have got stuck in them sometimes myself due to them closing too fast to allow everyone safely board the U-Bahn or S-Bahn. It is time the courts in Germany took a stronger stand against companies maximising profits at the expense of safety. Sure, they don't want Germany to become a litigation state like USA but there needs to be a proper remedy for sufferers of negligence. DB is a very guilty company but does not care because it never costs them much when they breach their duty of care and cause someone serious hurt.
20:20 August 3, 2012 by BigIg

If anyone tries to jump unto a train after the signal was sounded, he is the negligent person. The Bahn and all the passengers who were inconvenienced by this idiot should sue his other leg off.
22:18 August 3, 2012 by lucksi
lawsuit in Germany for losing half a leg? Yeah, if he wins he will get 2k and that's it.
22:21 August 3, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
@biglg What a stupid thing to say. Doesn't even deserve a reply but I will give you one. In crowded places such as train stations where people are rushing they are owed a duty of care for their safety. Even the stupid ones such as you are no doubt sometimes.
22:53 August 3, 2012 by wood artist

Yes, the trains have mirrors, however, in some stations the tracks curve, and if it's a longer train it's quite possible the driver couldn't possibly have seen the problem. The doors not properly sensing the situation is a different problem entirely.

This is a tough call. The equipment appears to have failed, which clearly puts some of the onus on the carrier. However, people also need to act responsibly, and it seems this passenger wasn't "rushing to catch the train" but simply milking the stop time. If safety needs to come first (as it should) it needs to come first for both the train and the passengers. If there was space on the train, he should have been inside...ready to travel.

As Bobby observed, clearly the train did malfunction. We shall see I guess.

00:03 August 4, 2012 by yahma
Oh man, this is scary. I too have seen with my own eyes people getting stuck in the doors. Luckily, in those situations, the trains did not move. If this train moved, while a young man was caught, there is clearly a defect.

While some are quick to blame the poor fellow for his ignorance, do you think he deserved to have a leg amputated for a momentary lapse in judgment? We've all been there. What worries me even more are the elderly and the children riding the S-Bahns. The elderly cannot move very quickly, and while waiting for people to disembark, they could easily become trapped. Small children are also prone to getting trapped in the doors. Like anyone else, I don't like to be inconvenienced; however, I'd rather be inconvenienced than have someone's grandmother/grandfather or child hurt.
08:20 August 4, 2012 by hankeat
I wonder why no one pulled the emergency brake.
14:53 August 4, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
With DB the only important factors are profit margins. Hence, the train is back in service straight away. Hence, the totally "Kaputt" S-Bahn system in Berlin that is falling apart in front of our eyes and unusable every winter. The money DB charges it's customers and in return for pricy tickets for long trecks, they treat people like cattle. Shove them on and shove them off and don't worry about some damage to them along the way so long as profit is maintained. It really is time for the courts to start coming down harder on negligence and corporate manslaughter claims.
15:56 August 4, 2012 by ackmanx
I've had train doors in Frankfurt and Berlin close on me more than once and refuse to open without help from other passengers. It's a shocking experience and it happens very quickly. Sometimes you can be most of the way in when the alarm sounds and you only get like half a second to get away.
18:50 August 4, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Do you know how much you cost the country in lost productivity by that delay. All those people who will be a few minutes late for work costs money. Not to mention the cost of improving the system which will re-open doors when someone gets stuck in them. The economy and productivity comes first. The employers cannot be made to wait for their employees to get to work.
21:19 August 4, 2012 by Zlik
What a headline! Tragic.
12:48 August 5, 2012 by wenddiver
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:57 August 5, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Vorsprung durch negligence
16:05 August 6, 2012 by Edge314
This is obviously a major problem in Berlin. I lost my leg in a similar accident nearly 3 years ago in Berlin. The difference was, I got on the train, which I shouldn't have been able too, as it was out of service. There was no announcement to say this and the driver admitted not checking the train doors or lights. As I stepped onto the train, it suddenly pulled away with the doors open, as I turned to get my wife onboard, the doors joltted to close and pushed me out, i bounced of a post and went under the train.

I am still trying to take them to court, but if you have little money, you can't force the situation, and as someone else said; it seems like the DB don't care about health and Safety or injuries to the public.
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