SEOUL/SINGAPORE: A 36-year-old man was crushed to death Wednesday (Oct 19) after getting stuck between a subway train and a platform screen door in South Korea.
The man had been trying to get off the train during the morning rush hour at Gimpo airport subway station in Seoul when the automatic platform screen door closed, said police.
The Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corp said in a press conference that the driver had opened the train's doors after a passenger said over the intercom that the man was trapped between the train and the screen door, Yonhap reported.
But around 27 seconds later, the doors were closed again and the driver started the train.
"We have to determine why he failed to check the situation outside of the train," Yonhap quoted an unnamed official as saying.
Security camera footage showed that he was eventually thrown onto the platform through an emergency exit on the platform.
"We're deeply sorry for the incident," said Na Yeol, acting chief of the train operator, promising a thorough investigation. We will come up with measures to prevent this type of accident from recurring and cooperate with police to determine its cause."
The Seoul metropolitan government, as well as the company will provide support in organising a funeral for the victim, Na Yeol said.
Transport expert Park Byung Joon, a senior lecturer at SIM University in Singapore, said it appeared that the problem was with the door of the train itself rather than the platform screen door. “If the train door does not close, there should be a warning sign. But it seems the driver did not get any warning sign in his train.”
He added that standard procedure calls for the driver to do a visual check once alerted to such an incident. "Whether this was caused by the fault of the train or the train door, we don’t know that now for sure. But ... when the driver was informed that someone was stuck, he didn’t perform a thorough check," Dr Park said."Things like this can happen anywhere ... The important thing is that if all safety procedures had been followed thoroughly, this instance could have been avoided."
Screen doors have been installed at all subway stations in Seoul, partly to prevent people from committing suicide. But the doors sometimes cause casualties by malfunctioning or trapping people.
In February, an elderly woman died after she was trapped between the screen door and a train at major transit hub Seoul Station, the Korea Times reported. In May, a junior railway employee was killed by a subway train while fixing a screen door on a platform in Seoul.