A commuter fell from an overcrowded Tube platform into the path of an oncoming train at one of London’s busiest Undergound stations last night.
Witnesses said the man, thought to be in his 20s, fell onto the Victoria Line at Oxford Circus amid a chaotic rush hour bustle on the platform.
Bystanders tried desperately to pull him from the path of an oncoming train but the plunge, thought to have happened after a ‘medical episode’, happened ‘too quickly’.
The station, London’s third busiest, was locked down from 5.30pm before several hours later police said the victim was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
Witness Ebony Rainford-Brent, a retired England cricketer, said: ‘It’s just a disgrace that the Tube can get so packed like this and there be no crowd management.
‘There were no Tube assistants moving people. I tried to step back because it was getting too much. I was 2m (7ft) away and he was two rows in front of me and people were packed in.
‘The Tube came down from the left and with about two seconds to go this guy, with all the pushing and shoving, I saw him fall.
The 2009 World Cup winner, 35, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘He didn’t look more than 25 years old, dark hair, black jacket. I can’t see a way he’s coming out alive.
Thousands of passengers were forced to evacuate Oxford Circus station yesterday evening
‘I pray for his family. You shouldn’t be risking your life just going to and from work. There should be barriers and station management.
‘In the most sophisticated city in the world, how do we not have a system with doors like the Jubilee line? It’s just not good enough.’
Ms Rainford-Brent said the man appeared to be in his mid-to-late 20s, had dark hair and was wearing a dark jacket.
She also told the PA News Agency the platform was the ‘most packed’ she had ever seen in her 35 years living in London.
Oxford Circus station was evacuated yesterday evening after the man fell in front of a train
She said: ‘As the train was coming in he was at the very front … it looked like he swivelled and lost his balance, it looked like a fall.
‘He sort of fell on his back. The way it looked to me he could have almost froze.’
Commuter Sophie King told BBC London: ‘It was very crowded and then everyone started screaming and shouting and calling for a doctor.
‘It looked like the man was crushed at the side of the train.’
A British Transport Police spokesman said: ‘Officers were called to Oxford Circus station shortly after 5.30pm following reports of a casualty on the tracks.
Former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent was just 7ft away from the man when he fell
‘Paramedics also attended and a man has been taken to hospital where he is in a critical but stable condition.
‘It is believed he suffered a medical episode and fell onto the tracks. The incident is not being treated as suspicious.’
Other witnesses said on social media the platform was ‘overcrowded’ and ‘rammed’ when the man fell.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman added: ‘We sent a number of resources to the scene including an incident response officer and our hazardous area response team.
‘We also dispatched a trauma team from London’s Air Ambulance. Crews treated a man at the scene with leg injuries and took him to a major trauma centre by road.’
British Transport Police confirmed a man was treated for injuries following the incident
Tube witness Amy Cunliffe-Rowe described the platform as ‘dangerously overcrowded’
It is the second incident in just over a week at Oxford Circus as there was another casualty on the tracks on November 13.
There have been calls for Transport for London to install barriers on Tube platforms, similar to those on the Jubilee Line.
A YouTube personality, Soki, said: ‘I’ve just seen someone fall under a Victoria line train on a very crowded Oxford Circus platform. Please, please can we have the barriers on the platform, it will save lives.’
Pictures shared on social media showed huge crowds outside the station as ambulances reached the scene.
Some passengers claimed Transport for London should fit platform edge doors – similar to those on the newer sections of the Jubilee Line – to all central London stations
Ms Rainford-Brent also said: ‘I cannot believe what I have just witnessed. Absolutely horrific scenes at Oxford Circus and I just watched a man fall under the tube 2m in front of me.
Former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent witnessed today’s shocking incident
‘This is unacceptable that in one of the most sophisticated cities in the world stations are allowed to get this rammed.’
She continued: ‘People pushing and shoving each other and putting life at risk just trying to get home from work. Something needs to be done urgently to create safety.
‘Sending prayers out to the family and friends of the young man, some horrible conversations to be had. Still shaking. So sad.’
Police were also filmed rushing into station entrances.
Ellie Ward tweeted: ‘I’ve just witnessed someone hit by a tube on the Victoria line platform at Oxford Circus due to severe overcrowding.
‘Why are people congratulating #TfL for ‘evacuating quickly’?! This is unacceptable. #installbarriers.’
Victoria line services were suspended while the incident was dealt with but were back up and running less than three hours after the man fell.