A teenager nearly died after he toppled off a railway bridge and plummeted 30ft onto the tracks below in the early hours of Sunday morning, October 13.
The man, believed to be 19, was two inches away from death as his head barely missed a concrete slab containing the railway’s high voltage power line.
He was on his way home after a night out drinking with friends when he sat on the bridge by Norbiton station and fell backwards onto the line shortly after 4am.
He was lying on the tracks for about 10 minutes before ambulance crews were able to treat him, aided by the police and the London Fire Brigade (LFB), as he was so close to the live railway line.
New Malden’s green watch manager Raymond Foster, who led the rescue, said: “His head must have missed the concrete trough by about two inches.
“If he had hit that he would have been dead – it would have killed him outright.
“The bridge there is quite low – even a young child could jump up onto the wall.
“He just toppled back and disappeared into the darkness.
“When we shone lights on him he was not moving.”
He was treated at the scene by the London Ambulance Service (LAS), the heart team and the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) before he was taken to St George's Hospital.
Emergency crews reached him by lowering a ladder from the bridge and the railway line’s power was turned off.
Medical equipment including oxygen, a scoop, a stretcher and monitors were lowered to ambulance crews from the bridge above who treated him at the scene.
An ambulance spokesman said: “We were called just before 4.10am to Porchester Road to reports of a man who had fallen from a bridge near the railway onto the tracks below.
“We sent two ambulance crews and officer and a medical team.
“The patient was reported to be a 19-year-old.
“He was conscious and was stabilised before being taken to St George’s Hospital.”
Mr Foster praised firefighters for their work during the rescue.
He said: "I would like to commend the actions of all my watch for their professionalism in dealing with a difficult rescue in difficult conditions.
"They carried out their duties and showed the brigade an extremely positive way in the best traditions of the fire service."
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