Man's frantic struggle to save wheelchair-bound woman from train tracks

Rescuer tells of frantic struggle to save wheelchair-bound woman stuck on train tracks

A man has told of his struggle to free a wheelchair-bound woman trapped in the train tracks at a railway station in New Zealand.

Matthieu Mereau, an architecture graduate, was on his way to work in Kingsland, Auckland when he saw the young woman get her electric chair stuck at Morningside station at around 9am.

Speaking to, Mereau said: 'She was trying to move herself out of the way. I went over and said, "I'll help you, I'll get you out."

'Then the barrier arms started to come down and the bells began to ring and then the situation became horrible.'

Panicking and unable to move the chair, Matthieu called a passing female jogger for help.

He said the pair struggled with the chair as long as they could and became increasingly frantic as the noise of a freight train came closer.

'I was just trying to focus, to forget about the train, just to move her out of the way. It was kind of happening in a way in which I could see everything slowly.' reports that at the last moment they were able to push the wheelchair onto the ground but the train hit the wheelchair and dragged the woman along for some distance.

Matthieu was uninjured but the woman in the wheelchair suffered serious injuries. The jogger injured her leg.

'If I had been further away I wouldn't have been able to do anything. I was just literally right there. I couldn't do anything else,' he said.

'It was so close. I'm shaken.'

'I'm not the one that got hurt. I just want to know that she made it through.'

Police are investigating the incident.

KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said the crossing would be checked to see if it met the required standard.

'This is the most unusual event. None of us can remember anything like this happening before.'

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