The police watchdog is investigating after a man died on the railway line as he fled from officers in west London.
Witnesses described seeing a car being pursued by police smash into a metal barrier outside Hounslow station just after midnight on Tuesday.
A man jumped out of the vehicle and disappeared onto the track. He was pronounced dead at 12.22am by paramedics, Scotland Yard said, although the cause of death has not been revealed.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched an investigation and the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has also been informed.
A resident said: “I heard police screaming for a man to stop. He crashed into a barrier, I think his car was a BMW. I heard the screaming then a train came through and then silence. It was horrific.”
The smashed barrier could be seen outside Hounslow station on Tuesday afternoon as British Transport Police officers patrolled along the platforms.
In a statement the Met said: “At approximately 12.05am on Tuesday, 20 April officers attempted to stop a vehicle on Powder Mill Lane in Twickenham. The vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit commenced.
“A short while later a male decamped from the vehicle and ran onto a nearby railway line off Whitton Road in Hounslow. The London Ambulance Service attended and he was pronounced dead at 12.22am.”
“His next of kin has been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.”
A local business owner told the Standard: “The car hit the barrier, it must have been hard. The police were chasing him, there were a lot of police cars and it look like get had boxed him in that’s why he got out and ran.”
A mother of two who lives opposite the station said: “We heard a crash and looked out, it was chaos. A smashed car, paramedics and police everywhere. We first thought it was an attack of some sort. It was like something in a film.”
The IOPC has been contacted for comment.
A South Western Rail member of staff said: “No one would be in duty at that time of night and the station gate is sometimes left open. We don’t know for sure what happened but the third rail is electrified. It’s a tragedy.”