Commuter dragged under Tube train sues TfL over ‘rammed’ platforms

David Garcia Thomas suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured spine and serious leg injuries, after being dragged underneath a Tube train - Champion News
David Garcia Thomas suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured spine and serious leg injuries, after being dragged underneath a Tube train - Champion News

Transport for London (TfL) has been taken to court over its "rammed" platforms by a commuter dragged under a Tube train.

David Garcia Thomas, a former languages teacher turned IT executive, says he fell under an oncoming Tube train and was seriously injured due to overcrowding on a "rammed" London Underground platform.

The 28-year-old suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured spine and serious leg injuries, after being dragged along for some distance in front of fellow travellers.

He is now suing TfL for £220,000, claiming it "failed to identify … all the risks to the safety of customers” caused by “overcrowded and congested platforms".

Mr Garcia Thomas, of Ashdown Way, Balham, also said the platform should have had a "platform edge device to prevent falls from the platform" and stop accidents like his taking place.

'Platform was extremely crowded'

Documents lodged with London's High Court by his lawyers state that Mr Thomas was working for IT company Nominet at its Paddington office on Nov 20 2019 when the accident happened.

"At or just after 5pm on Nov 20 2019, the claimant had finished work in his office in Paddington and commenced his usual journey home on the London Underground," they say.

"He travelled from Paddington to Oxford Circus on the Bakerloo Line. At Oxford Circus, he crossed to the opposite platform for the southbound Victoria Line.

"The platform was extremely crowded. The claimant stood amongst other people waiting for a train. The first train to arrive was too full for the claimant to get on. Once people in front of him had got on the first train, the claimant moved closer to the edge of the platform and waited for the next train.

"He was hot and nauseous and began to feel dizzy and lightheaded. He was concerned that he might faint so he turned around, intending to move further away from the platform edge.

"However, the platform was so crowded and congested that he was unable to move from his position. Had he been able to, the claimant would have made his way to a safer area away from the platform edge. He was unable to do so because of the overcrowding and congestion on the platform.

"The claimant has no recollection of what happened next.

"CCTV footage, witness accounts and subsequent investigations confirm that the claimant suffered a medical episode, causing him to collapse and fall from the platform into the path of an oncoming train.

"The claimant was struck by the train and became trapped between the train and the platform. He was carried by the train some distance down the platform. He was removed by emergency services and taken to hospital."

Safety measures 'insufficient'

His lawyers go on to claim that TfL had not undertaken an adequate risk assessment, failed to properly identify the risks caused by overcrowded platforms and did not do enough to manage or prevent overcrowding.

They also said the company failed to provide good enough training in how to deal with overcrowding and failed to provide a "platform edge device" to prevent falls onto the tracks.

They also claim that safety measures in place - which included telling platform staff to direct customers to "stand back from the platform edge behind the yellow line" - were "insufficient" to ensure the "reasonable safety of customers" on an "overcrowded" platform.

The documents say Mr Garcia Thomas suffered a head injury, chest injury, cervical spine fracture and a fractured pelvis. His legs were also seriously injured by being ground between the train and the platform edge.

He needed seven operations and spent four months on crutches afterwards, his lawyers add.

Ebony Rainford-Brent, the BBC cricket commentator, was among the commuters who witnessed the accident.

She later tweeted:

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A TfL spokesman said: "Safety is our number one priority and we are sorry that Mr Garcia Thomas was injured at Oxford Circus station. We are aware of his claim and will be responding to the court in due course."