Dramatic rescue as man falls onto UK train line after horror bridge collapse
A cinematic rescue was carried out by an unknown good Samaritan after a man fell onto a live train track following the collapse of a bridge.
Florin Sfetu, 41, plummeted 15ft onto the live East London railway line and was knocked unconscious after a falling through a large hole in the Kennedy Road footbridge.
He suffered serious injuries to his head, chest and legs in the fall.
He woke up to find emergency services at the scene – but it was only days later when he was told the terrifying reality of what had actually happened.
Now months after the disaster in August 2022, Florin is trying to track down the unsung hero who pulled him from the tracks.
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He told the Mirror: “I briefly remember being in the ambulance.
“The nurse was trying to keep me awake and saying ‘stay with me’ but I fainted. My first clear memory was waking up at Queen’s Hospital in Romford with police officers next to my bed.”
Florin, originally from Romania, said he was “glad” that he doesn’t remember the event.
He said: “Trains use that line all the time and it’s terrifying to think what could have happened if no one had been there as I’m not sure I could have moved on my own.
“I have never met the person who pulled me to safety, but I want them to know how grateful I am to them for putting themselves at risk to help me. They may well have saved my life.”
Network Rail – responsible for maintaining the bridge – admitted liability for the fall after legal action by Osbornes Law.
Florin had had to take a month off his job as a labourer and forklift truck driver in a warehouse for his injuries.
Despite the incident being over a year later now, he still can only take on lighter duties, and has been told it will take months of physiotherapy – which he is funding himself – before he fully recovers physically.
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He explained that he has issues with his right shoulder and cannot walk “for a prolonged period of time” without getting tired.
He added it was only due to his “understanding employers” that he has been able to go back to work.
Florin said: “It is frustrating for me as I was very active before. I used to enjoy playing football, but I can’t do that anymore.
“I have been advised that movement may return with more treatment, but there is no guarantee. It is not just the physical side. Since the head injury, I am more forgetful, I have problems with my hearing, and I feel anxious too. I often have nightmares about the bridge and worry in case I have to cross one.
“In the nightmares, I would hear the sound of a train horn before waking up in a panic, drenched in sweat,”
He is having counselling for the trauma of the event.
Maria Tiron, a specialist personal injury solicitor at Osbornes Law, added: “My client had a reasonable expectation of safety in using this footbridge, as did the countless others who walked across it daily, and it is concerning that it was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair.
“Florin is an ordinary working man who simply wants to be compensated for his losses, but he also wants to highlight his case so that rail operators take seriously their duty of care and this incident, which could easily have been more serious, does not happen to anyone else.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We deeply regret the incident that occurred at the Kennedy Road bridge in Barking in 2022. Our primary concern has always been the safety and well-being of our passengers and the communities we serve, and we’re very sorry to Mr Sfetu for what happened.
“The footbridge, which was closed immediately after the incident, has now been removed and we are finalising our plans to install a new, modern structure next year.”
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