Elderly woman dragged by subway train dies

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Elderly woman dragged by subway train dies

An 81-year-old woman was killed Wednesday in a Seoul subway station after refusing to let go of her shopping bag after it got stuck between the train doors.

The woman was dragged 7 meters (23 feet) by the moving train on line No. 1, and died after falling off the platform ledge and onto the railway, according to the train’s operator, Seoul Metro.

When police arrived around 10 minutes after the incident, at 9:11 a.m., she had already died. Her head was severely bleeding. The victim was getting off a train at Seoul Station in central Seoul just after the morning rush hour at 9:02 a.m. when her shopping bag got sandwiched between the train’s doors. The platform screen door, however, did not close.

She was standing at the first door of the train’s second car from the end and was dragged 7 meters before falling off the platform. The train successfully detected that something was stuck in between its doors, and a crew member was notified through an alert system. However, the worker did not stop the train, according to a public relations officer for Seoul Metro.

The source adamantly denied it was a technical issue. The train moved 20 meters before eventually stopping.

As to why the train was not immediately halted remains unclear. Police are questioning the worker.

Some 15 people witnessed the scene but did not volunteer to help the 81-year-old, the source from Seoul Metro said, adding that “everything happened within moments.”

A witness called the station for help at 9:05 a.m. Firefighters and police arrived at 9:11 a.m.

All trains passing Seoul Station were halted for about five minutes following the incident. The woman was transported to the nearby Seoul Red Cross Hospital in Jongno District, central Seoul.

Local authorities said they would check for any security breaches based on witness accounts and CCTV footage retrieved from the site.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]
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