Railway safety and crime

11.01.19

Woman killed after leaning out of train and hitting head on tree branch, says RAIB

A passenger was killed after she leant out of the window of a train travelling 85mph and struck her head on a tree branch, rail investigators have found.

Bethan Roper suffered fatal injuries whilst travelling on a GWR train between Bath and Bristol on 1 December.

The 28-year-old charity worker was returning home from Bath’s Christmas market on a Bristol-bound HST when, at around 22:04 near Twerton, she struck her head on a tree branch.

According to witnesses, the passenger was standing at a door on the side facing away from the other track. The window was reported to have been open, and she had her head out of the window.

The RAIB said the door was fitted with an opening droplight window as well as a yellow “Caution” label reading: “Do not lean out of window when the train is moving.”

It will now launch an investigation into the incident, encompassing all the measures in place to control the risk of people leaning out of train windows and the threat from vegetation.

Following last month’s incident, Bethan Roper’s father Adrian said: “All of us who knew Bethan have been very privileged. She was beautiful in every way. Our pain couldn’t be sharper or more justified, but I know that her goodness and fullness of spirit will live on in our hearts and actions.”

Top image: JackBoskett

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