A four-year-old boy’s toes were torn off in a horror accident at London Bridge station when his Wellington boot became trapped in an escalator.
The young boy had spent the day sightseeing, watching the New Years’ Day parade and enjoying pizza with his family when the accident happened, at around 7pm on January 1.
He was stood just behind his mother when his boot is said to have become trapped between the step and the side of the escalator up to platform 7.
In a panic, the boy’s mother tried to find an emergency brake but struggled to locate it on a nearby pillar, and his father then hauled his son out of his stricken boot.
However the boy’s little toe and part of his fourth toe were torn off as he was pulled free.
A passing doctor helped to treat the injured boy, while a station escalator technician freed the severed toes and put them on ice. However the digits could not be re-attached when he reached nearby St Thomas’ Hospital.
The family, from Sittingbourne in Kent, are now taking legal action against Network Rail over the accident, and are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
“A lovely family day out ended in absolute disaster for us”, said the boy’s father.
“I am confident our little boy wasn’t doing anything he shouldn’t have been on the escalator, we were right next to him, and it was such a frightening experience to see him suddenly trapped like that.”
Talking of the aftermath, he said: “Our little boy has been really suffering and is now completely terrified of going near any escalators or lifts.
“We felt it was important to speak out about what happened to us, so parents know to be extremely vigilant when travelling around London.”
Bolt Burdon Kemp, the law firm representing the family, are pursuing a negligence claim, alleging the escalator was either faulty, unsafe due to a design flaw, or in a state of disrepair.
Senior associate Ben Pepper said Network Rail has denied liability and says the escalator was not unsafe or faulty.
“This family’s harrowing ordeal really shines a spotlight on the dangers of escalators and particularly the dangers of travelling with children”, he said.
“It’s really disappointing to see Network Rail deny liability for this issue and we hope, through our ongoing legal investigation we can identify those features of the escalator that were unsafe, and ensure this tragedy doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Bolt Burdon Kemp is appealing for witnesses to come forward, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 7288 4815.
When contacted about the case, a Network Rail spokesperson said: “The safety and wellbeing of our passengers is always our number one priority and our thoughts are with the young boy and his family at this very difficult time.
“Everyone in Network Rail and particularly the team at London Bridge station are saddened by this incident, however, while the case is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage.”