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

The incident was reported in the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.
The incident was reported in the South China Morning Post on Tuesday. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST WEBSITE

HONG KONG - An elderly Hong Kong woman plunged down to the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) tracks when she stepped out of a train at a local station on Monday (Oct 31), reported the South China Morning Post.

The MTR is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong, and the incident renewed calls for the rail operator to review safety measures at platform gaps.

A witness, identified only by his surname Zhang, told the newspaper that he heard a cleaning employee screaming for help when he exited the train at Lo Wu station.

"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," he 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.

The photos he took showed a terrified elderly woman lying with her back on the track, spread-eagled. Mr Zhang and other passengers told the woman not to move lest the train run over her.

An MTR staff member saw what happened and called for help, and two other employees came within minutes to rescue the old woman.

Mr Zhang said that the gap was so wide that the two employees could jump down to help push the old lady back up on the platform. He helped to pull the woman up.

Mr Zhang added that he had informed Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan about the incident. He also suggested the MTR should install platform gates along the East Rail Line as soon as possible to address this safety issue.

Ms Chiang echoed Mr Zhang's call for platform gates to be installed, noting that platform gaps are an urgent and widespread problem.

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