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3-year-old boy falls between bullet train and platform during trial run

31 Comments

A 3-year-old fell from a bullet train onto the train lines during a trial run, police said Sunday. The boy, who had been riding the bullet train as part of a trail on the as-yet unopened line between Kyushu and Kagoshima, fell between the train car and the platform while attempting to disembark on Saturday. Despite falling 2.6 meters, he did not sustain any injuries.

The boy and his grandmother were taking part in a regularly scheduled run when they attempted to disembark from the front of the 8th car at Kumamoto Station around 5:40 p.m. The gap through which the boy fell is believed to measure just 16 centimeters. The station staff who witnessed the accident pressed the emergency button. The boy is believed to have made his own way back to the train platform via a construction worker's path.

Kumamoto Station's bullet train platforms are designed to prevent such accidents but a 9-17-centimeter gap still exists. Announcements are made regularly inside the train cars warning passengers to be mindful of the gap. JR Kyushu says it is considering further safety measures.

© Compiled from news reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

31 Comments
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16cm??????? how skinny was this boy?

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Think the grandmother was upset?

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Glad he was fine, but I seen some serious gaps at a few stations here.

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"The boy is believed to have made his own way back to the train platform via a construction worker’s path."

Under instruction from station officials or an his own accord? Aren't people in this situation usually advised to stay where they are?

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wow, tough little tyke!

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Parents/guardian to blame 100%.

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Cant they build a platform that meets the dimensions of the trains? Or is it too difficult?

Even the Yamanote line has some large gaps between the train and the platforms that need to be addressed.

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Export - everything under 20cm is pretty risky, especially in stations where trains can pass at full speed, and/or where is a curve in the platform (most of the stations are curved). Think that the cars are not flexible, and the car's midpoint is at risk to strike the platform.

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phew.

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Some shinkansen(Tsubasa, etc) here got retractable stepping boards that are deployed when the gap is too big at stations as they use local train tracks and stations.

Might need to update the shikansen model for that route.

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why does the title of this article make it sound like he fell from a moving train?

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Like magic! Now you see him, now you dont. Hard to imagine how he fell through that little space while walking/exiting. You would have to have both feet togeather, wouldn't you?

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Me and my friend where getting of the train in Shibuya I think it was when he suddenly disappeared in front of me! one leg went between the train and platform.

What was frightening was that people where trying to get off and on when I was desperately pulling him up in between all this rush.

It would save a lot of grief if the trains DID have a plat that filled the gap when the doors opened they would only need to be 10cm in width.

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For the record, 16cm (6.3 inches) is far wider than the average 3-year-old's skull or chest cavity, and almost as wide as their shoulder blades. It is definitely way longer than their feet, making this kind of accident pretty easy to imagine.

I agree with Zinny, the retractable stepping boards are a great idea to solve the problem. They can be made a part of the opening/closing mechanism of the train doors, and would keep this kind of accident from happening. This isn't just a problem in Japan, either. The London Underground system, the NYC subway, and the Paris metro all suffer from the "mind the gap" problem. I'm amazed these types of accidents don't happen more often.

On the plus side, the kid is okay.

On the minus side, Gramma almost had a heart attack.

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You'll not hear "Mind the gap" on a NYC subway, at any time.

O-ba-chan should've not let go of his hand.

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Glad the child didn't suffer any injuries. Can't really fault the grandmother or the JR completely. I remember as a teenager getting on at 14th St. in NYC, the gap was ridiculously wide and it would have been easy to fall through (which I'm sure people did). They finally installed retractable steel mesh grids which deployed when the trains stopped. That said, you still have to look down 100% of the time while embarking and disembarking from any train, bus, boat, airplane, etc. It's a rule I try hard to adhere to wherever whenever.

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Thank god the kid was alright! Tough little guy!

As for the gaps, if this station is a stop for all the trains than there should definitely be safety measures taken to reduce or cover the gaps. If it's a station at which Shinkansen or other express trains can pass through it would be pretty hard to do anything besides have station attendants lay out covers as they do when people in wheel-chairs ride the trains. Having the gaps lessened in such a case would result in damage both to the structure, and trains, and the latter could be potentially devastating with a full speed train passing through.

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The boy is believed to have made his own way back to the train platform via a construction worker’s path.

Recovery WIN!!!!

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Retractable stepping boards would be more practical at the stations that have a gap in excess of 10cm.

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Grandmother why didn't you hold my hand! You know i'm to young to get off the train by my self!

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It's asking a lot but are those "Mind the gap" voices in English, too? I honestly can't remember. Half the time I can't even SEE the "gap" because of the logjam of people getting off/on the train.

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Saw this happen in Hiroshima 2 years ago too. The little one was getting off the train with his father and his foot lodged between the platform and the carriage. His shoe fell off but he wasn't injured. Still scary stuff for a 3 year old. The gap, while not a great problem for adults, can proof difficult for small toddlers. Then again, why the hell parents don't take greater care when embarking and disembarking a train with their kids here is just mind-boggling!

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*prove (facepalms)

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Lucky kid. I dont get why they didnt make sure he didnt fall down in the first place though ... however I should be happy that they actually noticed he was gone I suppose. It seems many parents in this country wouldnt notice until about 3 minutes later.

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UsagitoSaru - why does the title of this article make it sound like he fell from a moving train?

A better question: Why does the headline make it sound like his fall was a trial run?

It seems pretty wrong that with all the high-tech engineering that goes into making these trains there is still such a substantial gap on the platform.

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I wonder if she was using a cell phone while holding his hands and if she was paying attention at all. Makes you wonder.

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I know a fellow ex-pat who fell through the rather large gap at Yoyogi Station in Tokyo and the train actually pulled out and would have killed him had he not hid under the lip of the platform. He was unharmed but all JR did was sent a station flunky over to his apartment with a box of cookies to placate him. He was majorly steamed to say the least.

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Probably she WAS holding onto his hand but didn't have a death-grip on it, so when he fell his hand slipped out of hers. Unless she was the first person off the train, she probably didn't see the gap until she was at it due to other passenger bodies being in the way. Therefore, she had no advance warning to secure a better grip on the child.

The only reason I can see for a gap being that large would be if the engine or cars of a different train model were wider than this Shinkansen train. In any case they should have included something like a plate under the floor of the train car that slides out when the door is opened. That would eliminate the gap and would work at any station.

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This is always the scariest part of being in Japan with my kid.

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I saw something like this happen at Kyoto subway station(second car heading north}. I ran and told the driver. There was a happy ending, but it was weird to see the mom get on the train and bow in apology to the rush hour passengers, before consoling her wailing preschooler.

I also remember that NYC Union Square gap with the moving metal grate and the annoying announcement. Please stand clear of the moving platform as trains enter and leave the station,over and over again.

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This is so scary! This is why I always hold my little 3 year old hand when getting on or off the trains here in Japan, you know, JUST IN CASE, and many ADULTS never bother to look down where little kids are trying to walk in the crowds.

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