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Man with guide dog hit, killed by train after falling off platform

27 Comments

A visually impaired 63-year-old man walking with his guide dog was hit and killed by a train after he fell off the platform at a station in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture, on Saturday.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 7 a.m. at JR Warabi Station on the Keihin Tohoku Line. Fuji TV reported that the man was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police said that station surveillance camera footage showed the man walking close to the edge of the platform. The dog was behind the man, to his left.

Although the platform has yellow blocks for visually impaired people, there are no gates on the platform. The man teetered on the edge of the platform and let go of the dog's harness just before he fell. The dog remained on the platform.

There was no one else near the man at the time of the incident which is the latest in a series of similar cases where visually impaired people have fallen off platforms at train and subway stations in the past few years. In a much-publicized accident last August, a man with a guide dog died after falling off the platform at Aoyama-Itchome subway station in Tokyo.

Last October, an organization for visually impaired people held a forum in Tokyo at which they called on railway and subway operators to speed up plans to install platform doors as well as more yellow blocks on platforms.

Additionally, they proposed a system that will sound an alert to visually impaired people if they get too near the edge of the platform as well as a system where an IC card touch at the gate notifies station staff of the presence of a visually handicapped person to make it easier for them to receive support.

© Japan Today

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27 Comments
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Get those barriers up, train companies!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You need to think that one through; it only works when walking in one direction depending on which side of the platform has the track.

then obviously the dog would stay on the left.... didn't think that needed saying..... should have thought about the 10%

0 ( +0 / -0 )

DaDude Is correct, on weekdays there will be staff on the platform at this station, but it was a weekend so there was no staff on the platform. There were four staff people in the station as a whole. Cameras allow observation on monitors in the office but no one is assigned to be watching them constantly.

As for trying to help someone with a guide dog I remember being taught long ago (in the USA) not to interfere with the dog's job by trying to pet or speak to it. Unless it was an obviously imminently dangerous situation or the person was asking for help, I would probably hesitate to get involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Someone saw him and didn't move. Poor fella. Keep an eye out for blind people folks . A wee helping hand, should be automatic.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This was an unmanned station I believe just in case peopke wanted to blame the staff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

RIP and the poor dog - it must feel horrible to have lost his owner like that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could perhaps people see the guidedog they think that he's in good hands and the dog will warn him vs a blindperson without a dog someone is more willing to assist or warn.

There was no one else near the man at the time of the incident

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The dog must have distraught, losing it's owner like that...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The link below includes a photo of the platform.

The safety of the platform appears problematic. The Braille blocks are about four feet from the edge, and inside the blocks (away from the tracks) there's zero clearance in some places, between the blocks and pillars.

But ultimately the guy's safety is up to him. Why walk along the edge of the platform, away from the blocks?

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170114/p2a/00m/0na/018000c

0 ( +1 / -1 )

which is the latest in a series of similar cases where visually impaired people have fallen off platforms at train and subway stations in the past few years.

Could this be a training issue? I assume that both the visually impaired owner and guide dog undergo some kind of training to 'cement' their relationship? Whenever I read such story I have the impression the owner didn't 'understand' his dog and vice versa. Coaches/docs should also insist on being extra cautious when on platforms and to not hesitate to ask for help/stop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Could perhaps people see the guidedog they think that he's in good hands and the dog will warn him vs a blindperson without a dog someone is more willing to assist or warn.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow... RIP, I'm sorry the system let you down

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is so sad. I've seen JR staff (and even the public) help people, such as those with guide dogs, navigate safely on platforms and through the station, but it seems these people need to ask for the help. Asking for help is obvious but in Japan people often feel asking for something is troublesome to others. More training in schools on the difficulties of challenges people face and how to offer help will help prevent future occurrences. It did for me and ofter help when I see potential dangerous situations.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I know it's impossible to monitor each and every person going through the gates. But I wonder if there could be a practice of looking out for blind people and keep an eye on them on the platform to ensure they don't fall. Or maybe at least let other platform staff know there's a blind person on the platform at that particular time and to be extra vigilant. The obvious remedy would be to put barriers at each and every station, but that's time-consuming. I'm at a loss for words. This should never happen.

That's kind of what the last paragraph hints at I guess:

as well as a system where an IC card touch at the gate notifies station staff of the presence of a visually handicapped person to make it easier for them to receive support.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The dog was behind the man, to his left.

Maybe the dog was doing his job and had stopped as he should have.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It would save a lot of lives, whether they fall unintentionally or intentionally.

A lot? It's not like there are hundreds of people that die yearly by falling off the platforms, yes I agree that it could help to save the lives of those that fall or are pushed, unintentionally.

Intentionally? No, gates nor guards will stop anyone from killing themselves, that's a different story.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wish more passengers in the stations themselves would help keep a closer eye on the blind.

I often do myself and have offered to help a couple of times when they looked a bit unstable or lost.

I don't often see others doing that though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I understand it would cost a lot and it would take a lot of time to construct, but there needs to be gates at the platform that prevent people from going onto the tracks. It would save a lot of lives, whether they fall unintentionally or intentionally.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

why don't they teach guide dogs to walk on the right at stations?

You need to think that one through; it only works when walking in one direction depending on which side of the platform has the track.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There's a subtle form of discrimination at play here.

The man was strangely in front of his guide dog, he was able to let go of the lead before he hit the tracks, and there was nobody around to stop him.

But the idea that a physically less-than-perfect person might feel that they've had enough of living, just like some able-bodied, tragic youngster is seemingly too much to bear....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That's really terrible and very unlucky timing.

Amazing that he had the presence of mind to let go of the lead so as not to drag his dog over as well.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It does seem weird that he was in front of his guide dog - I thought guide dogs were supposed to lead the owner.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The dog was behind the man, to his left

Perhaps the railways, given the potential for cost saving alone, could assist with guide dog training?

I do hope JR don't fleece this poor man's family.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So sad. why don't they teach guide dogs to walk on the right at stations? Would save all this grief, literally. Cheaper too.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This should never happen.

It should never happen I agree, yet we can not start pointing fingers to look for someone to take the blame for it either. Preventable and otherwise, accidents do sadly happen,

Looking out for all the folks with special needs should be something that these train companies should be doing about.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

RIP

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I know it's impossible to monitor each and every person going through the gates. But I wonder if there could be a practice of looking out for blind people and keep an eye on them on the platform to ensure they don't fall. Or maybe at least let other platform staff know there's a blind person on the platform at that particular time and to be extra vigilant. The obvious remedy would be to put barriers at each and every station, but that's time-consuming. I'm at a loss for words. This should never happen.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

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