A woman who lost an arm and a leg after being hit by two trains has told Sky News “avoidable mistakes and failings” led to her life-changing injuries.
Sarah de Lagarde slipped on a puddle on the platform at High Barnet underground station in north London and fell in a gap between a stationary train and the platform in September 2022.
The fall alone was enough to break her nose and two front teeth but no one could have predicted the horror that was to follow – especially Ms de Lagarde, who remained conscious throughout the entire ordeal.
“The train then departed and took my right arm with it,” she told The UK Tonight With Sarah-Jane Mee.
Despite shouting for help nobody heard her – so the next train came into the station, claiming Ms de Lagarde’s right leg.
“I was still conscious after that and still determined to make it home,” she said.
“In my mind’s eye, I could see my two daughters and they were telling me ‘Mummy, you have to come home’.”
Ms de Lagarde remained on the train track for around 15 minutes before someone raised the alarm, and it took another hour for emergency services to arrive.
“There was a series of things that delayed my saving,” she told Sky News.
“I was told that switching off the power line took ages because no one knew who to contact, so the paramedics couldn’t get under the train to get me out of there.
“There were so many avoidable mistakes and failings that Transport for London (TfL) has allowed to happen.
“I have to live with the fact that it could have been just a slip and someone could have found me. and I could have just got away with just a broken nose.”
Ms de Lagarde was told by doctors that she nearly died 10 times the night of the accident, and it was a complete miracle she survived.
“It sounds like something from a horror movie,” Sarah-Jane Mee said to Ms de Lagarde, a mother-of-two who now has a robotic arm and prosthetic leg.
They have, to some extent, allowed her to carry on with normal life, but the implications of her accident are still felt by all of those around her.
“It has been a really tough year,” she said.
“I hold on to the fact that if I survived, I survived for a reason, and it is to highlight the fact that these safety procedures, that TfL think they have, are not sufficient – otherwise I would not be here with these injuries.”
The London Underground network is used by two million people every single day. Every month, there are an average of 16 incidents of people falling between the train and the platform, according to TfL figures covering 2006 to 2018.
Since 2003, the London Underground has been a subsidiary of TfL.
Asked what needs to be done to make the London Underground network safer, Ms de Lagarde said: “In my thinking, it is not just a money question – it is the fact that we are led to believe that CCTV is being watched live: it is not.
“Why are there no sensors on the tracks? Why is there no staff in the stations?
“I didn’t sacrifice an arm and a leg for nothing to happen.”
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In full: Wednesday’s UK Tonight
Nick Dent, the director of customer relations at London Underground, said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Sarah de Lagarde and her family following the devastating incident at High Barnet station last year.
“We have offered her direct support through our Sarah Hope line service, and we remain receptive to Sarah’s views about the network.”
He said safety remains the top priority at London Underground and measures are continually put in place to improve the network.
Written by: Newsroom