Quick-thinking commuters save man’s life at Highbury and Islington station

Highbury and Islington station

Highbury and Islington station - Credit: Archant

A man was saved from almost certain death when quick-thinking commuters stopped an onrushing tube train after he fell onto the tracks.

Tim Walker

Tim Walker - Credit: Archant

The dramatic rescue took place at 3.20pm at Highbury and Islington tube station after a middle-aged man slumped from the platform on the south-bound Victoria line.

About 25 other people on the platform saw the train begin to arrive and rushed to the other end of the platform to try to stop it.

The man, who had been laying prone on the tracks, then appeared to get up and run down the tunnel in the other direction.

Tim Walker, who was on the platform, described it as “like a scene out of the railway children”.


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He said: “Looking back now it all seems like a dream.

“A middle-aged man was standing very close to the edge of the platform on the southbound Victoria line.

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“The man’s friends seemed to be concerned with how close he was standing to the edge, and one of them was asking him to not stand so near.”

Mr Walker said it wasn’t clear if the man fell or jumped onto the tracks, but added he didn’t “believe it was a suicide attempt as there was no train approaching”.

He said: “His friends tried to help him, but he was about four-foot down from the platform, and in order to help him someone would have had to have gone on to the tracks.

“It seemed that the most important thing to do was to stop the oncoming train, so the two-dozen or so of us on the platform ran to the other end to stop it.

“It was heartening to see the way people reacted.

“It was good that the driver stopped, he could easily have thought that we were just a bunch of drunks messing around.”

Station workers arrived at the scene, and ordered commuters to stay away, before rescuing the man from the tracks.

British Transport Police (BTP) confirmed they were called to Highbury and Islington tube station at 3:21pm and detained a male under the Mental Health Act. He was then taken to hospital for assessment.

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